Deadly Window Blinds: A Hidden Hazard in Your Home

plastic shutter

Elisabeth is a 13-time Emmy-winner, a critically acclaimed personal finance author and a 20-year consumer advocate for programs such as Good Morning America and The Dr. Oz Show. Connect with her via Twitter @ElisabethLeamy and on her website, Leamy.com.

It sounds like a freak accident, but it’s not. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly once a month a child dies by strangling in the cords of window blinds. That’s why CPSC has long-considered corded window blinds one of the top five hidden hazards in our homes. We got the word out in an on-air segment on The Dr. Oz Show recently, and now I’m following up with more life-saving details. Read more  »

Possible Link Between Gum Disease and Breast Cancer, Especially in Smokers

woman-at-dentist

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gums that affects half of Americans over 30. Gingivitis, the mildest form of periodontal disease, is marked by swollen and bleeding gums. If not addressed gingivitis can advance to more severe stages of periodontal disease, which threaten the tissues and bones that support teeth. In advanced periodontal disease, gums recede away from the teeth, creating “pockets” that become infected. Eventually, teeth loosening or loss results. Research has already shown this common, but serious periodontal disease has also been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease, and many other chronic health issues. A study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention on December 21, 2015 now indicates that periodontal disease may be connected to an increased risk of getting breast cancer in postmenopausal women, especially in those with a history of smoking. Read more  »

Slow Medicine for Heart Health

womenshearthealth

In the case of most illnesses, we have the opportunity to respond conventionally and/or holistically, so as to resolve the root problem and return to balance. In the case of heart disease, however, the first sign of a problem may be a fatal heart attack, as is the case about a third of the time. For this reason, heart disease – which is the leading cause of death among women and men alike – can feel both mystifying and terrifying. Additionally, in many women and in some men, there are no advance warnings of heart disease, which remains silent until a heart attack actually happens. For this reason, it is critically important to take all the necessary precautions to prevent heart disease. And for this reason, it is wise to consider steps beyond the conventional, which, as most people now realize, is limited. Slow Medicine offers the most comprehensive approach to heart health, as outlined below. Read more  »

Slow Medicine for Depression

sad woman sitting alone

If you struggle with depression, chances are that you suffer from any or all of the following: difficulty getting out of bed in the morning, insufficient energy to function, profound sadness, self-isolating tendencies, lack of motivation, loss of appetite, suffocating feelings of doom and gloom, and suicidal thoughts. Your life may in turn be adversely impacted by a profound struggle to care for yourself – including the basics of eating, bathing, and grooming, as well as working, socializing, and engaging in physical activity. You may end up feeling extreme loneliness, isolation, and hopelessness, to the extent that it is a challenge to even think about reaching out for help. Each of these challenges is likely to feed into each other, exacerbating your struggles. They even may create a chain reaction of events that send you spiraling downward, perhaps endangering your very survival. Read more  »

What It Really Means to “Catch” a Mental Illness

sad woman sitting alone

Written by The Dr. Oz Show Medical Unit Chief of Staff Michael Crupain, MD, MPH

The book Infectious Madness, by award-winning author Harriet Washington, promises to explain to readers “The Surprising Science of How We ‘Catch’ Mental Illness.” On today’s show, we discussed the provocative idea put forth in this title with Ms. Washington and psychiatrist Dr. Gail Saltz.

Here’s a major spoiler—but don’t stop reading because this is important: Mental illness is not contagious, at least not in the traditional sense. You can’t catch things like schizophrenia, OCD, or bipolar disorder from someone who has it the way you can catch the flu or other infectious disease.

So what is Harriet talking about when she says you can catch a mental disease? Read more  »

How You Can Help Cancer-Detecting Dogs Help Us

Nose of dog

Elisabeth is a 13-time Emmy-winner, a critically acclaimed personal finance author and a 20-year consumer advocate for programs such as Good Morning America and The Dr. Oz Show. Connect with her via Twitter @ElisabethLeamy and on her website, Leamy.com.

This week I had my best assignment ever for The Dr. Oz Show! I got to travel to the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Vet Dog Training Center in Philadelphia to witness how they are teaching these magnificent animals to detect cancer. It was heaven as a dog lover because, though the dogs were smart, talented workers, they were also adorable, playful critters. Not to mention as a health geek, it was amazing to see the sheer ambitiousness of what they’re trying to accomplish.

Watch the show to see the dogs in action, but here’s the lowdown: dogs’ sense of smell is about a million times more sensitive than ours. They can detect a single drop of blood in two Olympic size swimming pools —that’s down to the parts per trillion. I watched as three different pooches went through their paces and nailed it more than 90 percent of the time. No other early detection test even comes close for ovarian cancer. Read more  »

Finding a Quality Nutritional Supplement

Spoon full of colorful pills

Written by Lyle MacWilliam MSc, FP

Have you ever watched shoppers as they try to choose a nutritional supplement? As part of my job to constantly scour health food and other retail stores for the latest brands of nutritional supplements, I have had plenty of opportunities to observe consumer behavior.

Some shoppers use the à la carte approach, choosing a little of this, a smidgen of that, and a whole lot of those because they’re on sale. They rarely have a specific health goal they’re trying to address and they figure everything’s probably helpful. Simply put, it’s very difficult to create a balanced intake of the required nutrients using this method and, besides, it’s generally far more frustrating and often expensive to do so.

Others will pick a particular supplement and scan its label. Then, they’ll choose another and repeat the procedure, comparing one supplement to the other. And often they’ll ask: “What’s a milligram compared to a microgram? What the heck is an international unit? Why does one brand have twice as much vitamin D as the other? Which supplement is best for me? How do I make sense out of all of this?”

Confusing? You bet. After a while they’ll often just scratch their heads and walk away, or they’ll look at the price and choose the least expensive one, which is rarely a good way to go about picking a supplement. Read more  »

A Sleep-Friendly iPhone? It’s About Time!

Late night messaging

We learned this week that Apple is moving toward making its handheld devices more sleep-friendly. Included in an upgrade for Apple’s iOS operating system is an app called “Night Shift,” which changes the color balance of light from device screens during evening hours. The Night Shift app uses GPS data and user settings to adjust the composition of screen light after sunset, reducing white and blue light while increasing red and orange light. The upgrade (iOS 9.3) and the app itself are not yet available to the general public, but are currently in beta testing. Read more  »

How to Make Sure Your Drinking Water Is Safe

Pensive blond woman drinking water in her kitchen

Written by The Dr. Oz Show Medical Unit Chief of Staff Michael Crupain, MD, MPH

Access to safe and affordable water is considered one of our basic human rights. In the U.S. we are fortunate that the vast majority of us don’t have to think about where our next sip will come from. But even here, things can go wrong and our water can become contaminated. The situation that has been developing in Flint, Michigan over the last few years is an unfortunate example. As we discussed on today’s show, residents of Flint have been advised to drink bottled water due to the potential of exposure to high levels of lead and other possible contaminants in the water flowing from their taps. This problem is a result of terrible neglect by government officials and a confluence of issues that plague many of our municipalities: shrinking budgets and aging infrastructure.

Hopefully a situation as extreme as this doesn’t happen where you live, but problems with your water, even on a smaller scale, can occur anywhere. So let’s go over what you can do to make sure the water you’re drinking is safe. Read more  »

Why You Should Ban Bumpers From Your Baby’s Room

Mother looking at her baby boy in a crib

Written by The Dr. Oz Show Medical Unit Chief of Staff Michael Crupain, MD, MPH

Crib bumpers, the often colorful padding you wrap around the inside of a baby’s crib, may look like a good idea, but they aren’t. Intended as both a decoration and to protect babies from banging their heads or getting stuck in the slats of cribs, it turns out that these readily available products actually do more harm than good. In fact these pads can cause serious injury and even death.

A recent study that analyzed both government data and data from National Center for the Review and Prevention of Child Deaths, found that crib bumpers were the cause of at least 77 infant deaths between the late 1980s and 2011, with those numbers climbing more recently. Due to reporting issues, this may actually be an underestimate. Even the newer styles of bumpers that are less than two inches thick were implicated in three deaths in the study. Suffocation can occur from the bumper alone when a baby gets wedged between the bumper and another object. Some deaths occurred from as a result of strangulation by the bumper ties, suggesting that any type of bumper or even mesh could be an issue. Read more  »