Sunday, January 20, 2019

Little Known Facts

Little Known Facts

·         Studies suggest that children have stronger, more satisfying relationships with pets, especially their dogs, than with their siblings.
·         Because of overpopulation that strains both food supplies and living spaces, some researchers predict that in the future flesh-and-blood pets will be replaced by companion robots.
·         Drilling holes in the skull to “let the madness out” was once a common treatment for mental illness.
·         Ten percent of pedestrian injuries involve people who are texting or otherwise focused on cell phones.
·         Hot air hand dryers in public restrooms disperse bacteria laden water droplets than can spread disease.
·         Oils, fats, coffee grounds, eggshells, flour, rice, and pasta can clog the drains of garbage disposals.
·         The cost of raising a child from birth through age 17 is currently $233,610, or $14,000 per year.
·         For some people home sleep apnea tests have been shown to be as reliable as over-night sleep lab testing.
·         A new study has shown that psychoactive chemicals have been found in children exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke.

Did You Know That?

·         An anti-inflammatory diet protects women against fractures and bone loss.
·         Drinking wine is associated with increased possibilities of melanoma.
·         Half of adults and two-thirds of children drink one or more sugary drinks every day.
·         Processed food and fast food tend to be high in salt and sugar and low in fiber.
·         More than a third of injury-related emergency room visits are attributed to falls.
·         Peppermint oil has been shown to reduce tension headaches when applied to the temples.
·         Sesame oil has significant cardiovascular benefits.
·         Urinary bladders can hold more than two cups of urine.
·         Most people blink about 15 times a minute, which amounts to around 15,000 times a day.
·         Although used culinary as grain, amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat are not grains. Grains are seeds of the plants in the grass family, and these plants are not in the grass family.  They are more accurately classified as pseudo-grains.
·         A berberine herbal supplement works as well for lowering blood sugar for some diabetics as metformin.  Research suggests it may also reduce risk in developing diabetes.
·         Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

Monday, January 7, 2019


 Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.  It accounts for 1 out of every 5 of these deaths.  Damage to DNA caused from smoking stays with a person for decades and in some instances does not revert to normal even after they stop smoking.  Many people believe electronic cigarettes are a healthier alternative than smoking.  Vaping, or smoking electronic cigarettes that produce vapor instead of smoke, has its own list of negative health effects.   People are just trading one serious health risk for another.

E-cigarettes or e-cigs came to the US about 2007, and are not a safe alternative to smoking regular cigarettes.  An e-cig uses heat to create an aerosol that contains nicotine, flavorings, solvents, and other chemicals.  The flavorings were developed to satisfy taste buds.  Diacetyl is an artificial flavor also used for adding a buttery taste to microwave popcorn.  It can cause respiratory damage, including inflammation and permanent scarring of the airways.  It is just one of the many chemicals used to flavor e-cigarettes.  Vape flavorings like bubble gum, Dr. Pepper, and cotton candy entice young people to use e-cigarettes.  E-cigarettes may damage the lung tissue as well as affecting and damaging the brain.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Consequences of Smoking

The consequences of smoking include a higher risk for lung cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and many types of cancer.  Time is a factor in both ill effects of smoking and benefits in staying smoke free.  Both accumulate over time.  If you quit smoking at 30 years of age, you gain 10 years of life.  If you quit at 40 you gain nine years of life.  At 50 you gain six years of life and at 60 you gain three years of life.

Within 20 minutes of stopping smoking, heart rate and blood pressure drop to healthier levels.  After 12 hours, carbon monoxide levels of the blood return to normal.  Within 48 hours, nerve endings begin to regrow and sense of smell and taste begin to return to normal.  Coughing and shortness of breath decrease in one month.  At two months insulin resistance normalizes, and  c   irculation improves and lung function increases in three months.   After a year of not smoking, the risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker.  In five years stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker.  The risk of lung cancer is reduced to half that of a smoker and there is a decreased risk of mouth, throat, esophageal, bladder, cervical, and pancreatic cancers 10 years after stopping smoking.  In 15 years, the risk of coronary heart disease is reduced to that of a non smoker.

When people stop smoking, there is a physical withdrawal from nicotine as well as the mental effects of quitting.  Irritability, anger, frustration, and difficulty concentrating are common challenges.  Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) includes gum, inhalers, lozenges, nasal sprays, and skin patches, all containing some nicotine.  These are of help to some people, but they must not smoke while using NRT.  Snacks, going for a walk, or lighting a candle can help avoid lighting up.  Your physician may be able to help with prescription medication as well as directing you to a support group.  There is a toll free QUIT line, 1-800-QUIT Now (1-800-784-8669).

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Shape of Ears

Some ears are described as being jumbo in size and may even protrude or stick out.  Other people have smaller, flatter ears.  The shape of the ear does have an effect on how a person hears.  Ears deliver sounds to the eardrum and eventually to the brain.  The outer flap of the ear is called the pinna and is the sound-gatherer.  Because the ear is pointed slightly to the front, it gathers more sound from what it is facing rather than from behind.  Large ear flaps should help drown out ambient noise from behind, whereas people with flatter ears may better pick up sound coming from behind.

Earlobe shapes, whether attached or free hanging, tend to be genetic and probably do not affect acoustic ability.  The swirly shape of the ear leads sound down to the auditory canal which acts as an amplifier.  At the end of the canal is the eardrum.  It is protected, hypersensitive to sound, and has the unusual ability to heal on its own, even if it is torn.  Eustachian tubes help equalize pressure, and the inner ear on the other side of the eardrum is a space filled with fluid that transmits sound waves ultimately to the brain.

The ear is a self-cleaning, self-oiling machine, eliminating the need for Q-tips.  Placing objects inside the ear can impact ear wax that is meant to capture and expel dirt.  Cleaning ears can actually dampen hearing.  Ear wax amount and type is inherited as a single gene.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is most often referred to as a vitamin.  However, it is really a steroid hormone obtained from sun exposure, food sources, and supplementation.  Common forms of vitamin D are vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol).  Vitamin D3 is supposed to be 87 percent more effective than vitamin D2.  Only a few foods contain vitamin D.  Salmon, herring, tuna, mackerel, and fish oils are sources of vitamin D.  Cooked egg yolk and beef liver also contain vitamin D.  Milk is often fortified with vitamin D as are bread, juices, and other dairy products.  Some multivitamins may contain vitamin D.  Cooking foods variably reduces vitamin D content.  Boiled, fried, and baked foods may contain 69 to 89 percent of the original vitamin D content.  Animal sources of vitamin D are considered to be better than plant sources, which provide only vitamin D2.

Sun exposure may be the best source of vitamin D, as it provides UVB wavelengths that the body requires for vitamin D production.  However, when the temperature is lower than 50 degrees F, there is a scarcity of UVB rays.  The best time for exposure to the sun is as near to solar noon as possible.  You will produce more vitamin D more rapidly at this time.  It is recommended that you receive 20 minutes of direct sun on the skin of the arms for 4 to 5 times a week.  During the winter months, the sun may be too low in the sky to produce vitamin D in the skin.  It also may be hard to get adequate sun in cities with tall buildings.

 Skin pigmentation affects the production of vitamin D.  Fair skinned people can max out vitamin D production more rapidly than dark skinned people.  The skin around the eyes is thinner than it is on other body parts.  Skin protection is advised for this part of the body.  Excessive use of sunscreen can decrease vitamin D production by the skin as it prevents much of the ultraviolet rays from reaching the skin.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Febrile Seizures

Seizures are a frightening side effect of fevers that can occur in some children.  “Febrile seizures” occur in 2 to 4 percent of children under age 5. Approximately one in every 25 children will have at least one febrile seizure, and some of them will have additional febrile seizures before they outgrow the tendency to have them.  Febrile seizures tend to run in families and are more common in boys than girls.  They may cause jerking movements in the body or look like “passing out.”  Some children may feel sleepy afterward, and others feel no lasting effects. 

While they are frightening, febrile seizures usually end without treatment and do not cause other health problems. For example, they do not mean that a child will have epilepsy or brain damage. A high fever can cause seizures, but they are usually caused by a sudden or rapid elevation in temperature, even if it is a small amount.  Reducing fever does not prevent seizures, and most occur during the first day of a child’s fever. Children may have a febrile seizure before it is known that they have a fever.  This type of seizure affects the entire body, not just one side.

If a child has a seizure, put the child on his or her side on a protected surface.  Do NOT put anything in the child’s mouth.  A person who is seizing cannot swallow their tongue and usually are breathing.  Do not try to hold or restrain the child.  These seizures normally last less than 5 minutes, some are as brief as a few seconds. If the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes, call 911.  After the seizure is over, you may give the child fever-reducing medications, or put them in lukewarm water to cool them off.  

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Facts You May Not Know

·         Exposure to sun mobilizes nitric oxide (neurotransmitter) and helps lower blood pressure.
·         One third of new drugs require additional safety warnings, even after they have been approved.
·         One study shows that men who drank sodas daily increased their risk of gout by 45 percent.
·         Red onions are higher in phytonutrients than are white onions.
·         Birth control pills are linked with an increased risk of depression.
·         Low vitamin D and calcium may increase risk of early menopause.
·         Stroke rates are declining among older people, but are increasing in the 25-44 age group.
·         Mothers who eat a lot of sugar during pregnancy can cause a higher risk of allergies and allergic asthma in their babies.