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Jul 26, 2010

Chronic Constipation? Hold the Milk!

Cow’s milk has been linked with chronic constipation in children in theory due to an immune response in the protein. In a trial conducted in Spain, researchers studied the effects of milk on children who presented to a gastroenterology clinic for complaints of chronic constipation. The trial involved removing cow’s milk from the children’s diet for a period of time, then reintroducing it into diet, and then removing the milk again from the diet. For many of the children, the constipation resolved within 1 to 5 days after removing cow’s milk from the diet and returned when milk was reintroduced back into the diet.

Not all children responded to the removal of milk from the diet. The study does not completely support an immune response mechanism as to the cause of the constipation in children, but does lead researches to believe milk may often be related to a delayed allergic response. While this was not a randomized blinded study, researchers find the results compelling and supports this simple intervention when working with children suffering from chronic constipation.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Eating Fish Prevent Eye Disease Later in Life

Fish oils have been studied for years for their beneficial effects on the body ranging from its anti-inflammatory effects, cardio protective properties, and recently eye health. They are found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna. A recent study in the journal Ophthalmology, found that people who eat fatty fish at least once a week are less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is an eye disease that causes vision impairment and blindness.

The study involved over 2500 adults who completed a questionnaire and had eye exams. Researcher compared the results of the questionnaire with results from eye exams and correlated the participants who ate one or more servings of healthy fish a week were 60% less likely to develop advanced AMD than those who ate less. Fish oil contains DHA, a substance concentrated in the retina of the eye.

Dr.Kerry Ferguson

Jul 16, 2010

Obesity’s Effect on Sexuality

Reports from a French survey report interesting sexual behaviors and functions when comparing overweight and obese individuals with normal weight people. In general, compared with normal-weight individuals, obese men reported more erectile dysfunction; obese women did not have any increased sexual dysfunction, but were more likely to report unintended pregnancies.

French investigators conducted a national survey of sexual behaviors in 4635 men and 5535 women, ages 18-69. One of the main focus areas of the study was the effects of obesity and sexual behavior and function. 9% of the participants were obese, 21 % of the women overweight, and 35% men were overweight.

Results of the study showed that while obese men had twice the rate of erectile dysfunction as normal weight men, obese women had no increase in sexual dysfunction. Obese and overweight woman had more changes in their sexual behavior while men had no change in this area. Younger obese women (18-29), were threefold more likely to have met a partner on the internet and have obese partners. Obese women of all ages were less likely to see a clinician for contraception despite being sexually active, less likely to use oral contraception, and more likely to use the withdrawal method as birth control. This explains the increase in unintended pregnancies among obese women. These results have suggested that clinicians need to create an environment in which women, especially obese and overweight women, can seek advice and contraception in an open and nonjudgmental place.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Angiotensin-Receptor Blockers (ARBs) Linked to “Modest” Increase in Cancer Risk

According to a meta-analysis published in an oncology journal, angiotensin-receptor blockers are associated with a modestly increased risk for cancer. Researchers examined date from five randomized studies including more than 62,000 patients. They found those taking ARBs had a significantly greater risk for new cancer than did the controls. When analyzing different cancer types, lung cancer was the greatest increased risk. The authors of the study call the increase risk “modest” and the mechanism of why there is an increased cancer risk “uncertain.” One ARB in particular used in the study was telmisartan, approximately 85% of patients studied. Often ARBs are used as an alternate treatment for patients who do not tolerate ACE inhibitors. Guidelines from the study suggest that ARBs should be used with greater caution and ACE inhibitors to be used when tolerated.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Jul 8, 2010

Anti-atherogenic Effects of Resveratrol

Resveratrol, a polyphenol compound found in grapes, nuts, and berries has been believed to decrease cardiovascular disease. Many have heard of the health protective qualities of a glass of red wine, well it is due to the presence of this compound. Its effects on cardiovascular health come from its believed ability as an anti-atherogenic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer compound. Also studied, is its ability to prevent lipid oxidation, platelet aggregation, arterial vasodilation, and ability to modulate the levels of lipids in the blood.

In the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a research article was written analyzing a multitude of studies regarding the health claims of resveratrol. It looked at every possible mechanism for the effects on cardiovascular disease. The researchers found that the combination of mechanisms found in this polyphenol accounts for its ability as a cardioprotective. It reduces atherosclerotic plaque formation and prevents oxidation of LDL cholesterol. It also prevents arterial vasodilation and influences infarct size, as well as apoptosis and angiogenesis. Furthermore, its ability to reduce oxidative stress as a strong anti-oxidant reduces free radicals and hydrogen peroxide production. It also suppresses inflammation by down regulating pro-inflammatory cytokines. Inflammation is a risk factor for atherosclerosis. In conclusion, there is promising evidence depicting beneficial effects of resveratrol and its health claim that it can be used in the prevention and treatment of several diseases including cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Jul 2, 2010

FDA Finds Lead in All Lipsticks Tested

The FDA tested lead in 22 brands of lipstick last year, and found lead in every single one of them. It is estimated that the average woman inadvertently consumes four pounds of lipstick in her lifetime. According to a report from Florida’s Department of Health there is no amount of lead in the blood that is safe. Even low levels of lead in the body have been linked to developmental delays, aggression, hyperactivity, brain damage, learning disorders, and more. Newborns are regularly found to have lead in their umbilical cord. Lead is found many places in our environment including paints, plastics, PVC, inks, dyes, building materials, and various consumer products. The concern with lipstick is its application directly on the body, and lips are more porous than even our skin. The lipstick with the highest level of lead had 34 times more lead than the lipstick with the lowest level.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Increased with Diabetic Medication.

A recent study, examined the effects of two diabetic drugs rosiglitazone and pioglitazone, both in a category of diabetic drugs called thiazolidinedions, and their effect on cardiovascular illnesses such as acute myocardial infarctions, stroke, heart failure, and death. Interestingly, when the two prescriptions were compared to each other, rosiglitazone was associated with a higher increased risk of stroke, heart failure, and all-cause mortality than pioglitazone. According to these studies, as a general rule pioglitazone has the same actions on blood sugar, but appears to be safer than the other option in this category. While safer, all thiazolidinediones are associated with higher heart failure risks compared to other diabetic medications and placebo.

Dr. Kerry Ferguson