In the News: The Best Diet for Your Brain, How Lack of Sleep Can Increase Your Alzheimer’s Risk, and the Powers of Chicken Soup

A low-fat diet may be what’s best for your brain. An animal study out of the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands found that eating a low-fat diet in addition to limiting calories was more effective than exercise in terms of reducing inflammation in the brain. The study took a look at inflammation that causes microglia which is “a type of immune cell whose dysfunction has been linked to development problems and diseases of the brain and central nervous system.” This study is not conclusive and needs more research to observe factors such as the impact of changing diet to low-fat if that’s not something that had been done since birth. For more information, check out this anti-inflammatory grocery list. (MNT)

If you’re frequently sleepy during the day you might have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s. A study published in JAMA Neurology looked at almost 3,000 older people and 22 percent had problems with being tired during the day. The lead in the study found that “people who reported excessive daytime sleepiness at the start of the study were more likely to show increases in amyloid in their brains as the study progressed. These people also tended to show faster deposition of the protein than those who did not report daytime drowsiness. What’s more, the amyloid was heaviest in two regions of the brain: the anterior cingulate and cingulate precuneus, which typically show high levels of amyloid in people with Alzheimer’s.” While more research needs to be done, getting a good night’s sleep is never a bad idea. (TIME)

Evidence finds that you should have chicken soup when you’re sick. While there aren’t concrete studies that have definitively proven chicken soup is a cure-all, certain research has shown that the elements that make up the soup could be helpful in fighting illness. One study found that the soup may have anti-inflammatory properties, another observed that spices used and steam from the soup can help clear congestion, and the ingredients have beneficial vitamins and minerals that can help your whole body. It’s not completely proven yet, but next time you feel under the weather make sure to eat chicken soup. (CNN)

Aromatherapy: The Hidden Gem of Health Care?

Rose Essential Oil

Essential oils seem to be all the rage these days due to the belief that they can enhance physical and/or psychological well-being. Often used in holistic health environments, essential oils have now made their mark in the medical model of the healthcare industry as well. Do not be surprised if you are offered essential oil options at your next health care visit.


A Closer Look at Dissociative Identity Disorder: Part 2

Teenage Girl Visits Doctor's Office Suffering With Depression

By: Anastasia Pollock, LCMHC

It is readily apparent early on in treatment that my clients with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) are some of the most resilient, intelligent, and creative people on the planet. No matter how many people I treat, I am always left in awe of the strength and resilience of the human body and spirit. Of course, Bri’s case is no different.


In the News: Sun Exposure Associated With Lower Risk of the Flu, Holding Hands With a Partner Reduces Physical Pain, Exercise More Effective Than Weight Loss for Heart Disease Patients

Getting more sunlight could help flu prevention. Besides all the well-known, tried and true flu prevention methods such as getting your annual vaccination, washing your hands, and eating a healthy, vitamin-rich diet, there is a new strategy being circulated among researchers that you can practice all year round. A study suggests that getting more vitamin D through sunshine exposure throughout the year and particularly in August through October, can reduce your chance of catching the flu during peak season. Researchers offered further support for this by synthesizing weather data and data from the CDC to note a 10 percent increase in sunny days during September also saw around 29,500 fewer cases of the flu. September and October are the sweetest times for this method because they are the best months to get outside without getting sunburned (though you should still wear sunscreen every day), and vitamin D stays in your fat stores for up to two months at a time, preparing you perfectly for the typical flu season. It’s not a replacement for the more heavily proven methods mentioned above, but with the frightening numbers of this year’s flu season, it’s helpful to know that there are preventive steps you can take all year. While you’re at it, try these six foods to beat the flu too. (TIME)

Study finds that hand-holding reduces pain. Pavel Goldstein of the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab at the University of Colorado, Boulder, recently set out to find the effects of physical touch between couples when one was in pain – ultimately supporting both the idea that couples hearts may “beat as one” and that physical touch can increase empathy and reduce pain. Goldstein’s team measured the brain activity of 22 heterosexual couples while they were in different rooms, the same room, and touching, and then all three conditions once again while the female partner experienced mild pain on her arms. It was revealed that just being in each other’s presence made their brain wavelength activity correlate, but this synchronization was interrupted when one partner experienced pain, and only resumed when they began to hold hands. The study also looked at the male partners’ empathy levels, discovering that they correlated with more intense brain synchronization and lower physical pain in the females. While all the other findings were supported by brain activity data, it was unclear in the experiment report how they measured empathy. However, the significance of this report is clear; as Goldstein put it, “We have developed a lot of ways to communicate in the modern world and we have fewer physical interactions. This paper illustrates the power and importance of human touch.” (MNT)

Exercise more important than weight loss for heart disease patients. A study conducted by Norwegian researchers and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology followed 3,307 heart disease patients for about 16 years each, making it a fairly large study of its kind. To their surprise, people with coronary heart disease who lost weight did not see a prolonged life expectancy. On the other hand, patients who did about 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week saw a 19 percent lower risk of death, and a 36 percent reduction if they did more exercise than that. Furthermore, all of the heart disease patients of normal weight who lost weight in an attempt to remedy their condition actually increased their rate of mortality. This was an observational study, meaning that extraneous variables such as how sick exactly each patient was at the beginning were not accounted for, but the size of the study and the significance of the numbers associated suggest that being active is the most important step one can take in reducing mortality while living with a heart disease. You can also check out this article to find out how to improve your heart numbers. (NYT)

In the News: Sleep and Lung Cancer Are Linked, Human Eggs Grow to Maturity in a Lab, Drinking Soda May Cause Infertility

Research finds a link between sleep and lung cancer progression. We know that getting enough sleep is an important rule for overall general health, but a few recent studies have emerged, leading sleep experts and lung doctors to believe there is a link between disrupted sleep and development or worsened prognosis of lung cancer. In a study using mice, frequent sleep interruptions, particularly those caused by sleep apnea, led to far faster tumor growth. This is because poor sleep and circadian rhythm disruption may play a role in how your immune system functions. This is even more of an issue, according to a professor of neural science, because lung cancer patients are already prone to poor sleep due to breathing difficulty and associated anxiety. However, he provided a few techniques for both people who are currently suffering from lung cancer and those who are looking for preventive options. Keep a regular bedtime and wake-up time, try to meditate before bed, keep your bedroom dark during all sleep hours, and avoid naps. Also, be sure to control pain right away as it can keep you up. You should keep these sleep hygiene habits even if you’ve been given a sleep aid while in treatment. Want to sleep better? Here are five easy steps. (USNEWS)

Human eggs have grown to maturity in a lab for the first time. Scientists have previously developed mouse eggs to a live offspring and matured human eggs from a late stage of development, but this is the first time that anyone has been able to mature human eggs from the most rudimentary stage of ovarian tissue outside the human body. The researchers acknowledged that they have to find more consistent success in order to confirm the most optimal conditions for healthy egg development. However, this achievement has been respected as hugely impressive and influential in the field and has critical implications for future strides in infertility treatment, including allowing cancer patients to preserve their fertility while undergoing chemotherapy. It also deepens the scientific understanding of human life as we know it so it may contribute to the treatment of other illnesses and regenerative medicines. (NBC)

Drinking one or more sugary sodas a day could promote infertility in either partner. Research conducted by Boston University School of Public Health found significant fertility-related findings when surveying 3,828 women between the ages of 21 to 45 trying to get pregnant and 1,045 of their male partners. Soda consumption showed a 20 percent lower chance of getting pregnant each month, with a 33 percent lower chance if the male was the one consuming the beverage. There did not appear to be a link between infertility and consumption of juice or diet soda. About 15% of couples in North America struggle with infertility, so studies such as this one are particularly pertinent right now, with many trying to look at diet-related risk factors. This research supports the recommendation of limiting sugary beverages in many fertility diets but is different in that it suggests just one soda a day could have an effect. Try Dr. Oz’s four-week detox to banish soda for good. (USNEWS)

Seaweed: The Magical Green Snack From The Sea

Crispy dried seaweed on wooden plate

Every year there seems to be a new popular food that grabs the media’s attention as the new health craze that has special nutritional benefits. For some time, kale and avocado appeared to steal the spotlight. Well, one that seems to be showing up more and more in headlines is a type of algae which has become more popular as a snack,  dried seaweed. Although definitely not yet a rockstar, seaweed can certainly hold its own as it’s a great snack food with many health benefits.


Why the Brazilian Butt Lift Is Such a Dangerous Procedure


By: Anthony Youn, MD, FACS, America’s Holistic Plastic Surgeon®

It seems every week I hear another heartbreaking story about a person who died from illegal injections of silicone into the buttocks, typically performed by non-physicians in hotel rooms and homes. For the past several years, I have teamed up with Dr. Oz and his producers to shine a light on this horrifying trend. While those procedures are illegal, there is a legal option to enlarge the buttocks that physicians provide all the time.