The Link Between Painful Sex and Chronic Pain Syndromes

Is your vagina depressed? Charlotte from the HBO show Sex and the City thought so after her gynecologist had prescribed her an antidepressant for a diagnosis of vulvodynia – a debilitating pain syndrome that afflicts the genital region in nearly 6 million women. Now, new research from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor links vulvodynia with other complex pain syndromes including musculoskeletal pain (fibromyalgia), irritable bowel syndrome, and bladder pain (interstitial cystitis). The researchers, led by Dr. Barbara Reed, found that women with vulvodynia were up to three times more likely to develop one or more of these other debilitating conditions. Read more  »

AMERICA’S DOCTOR Shares His Mind-Over-Matter Music

Every workout should be accompanied by a good soundtrack. Research on exercise motivation has repeatedly proven the benefits of listening to music during exercise. Music not only makes your jogging, biking or yoga routine more enjoyable, it also distracts your brain from the physical stress of exercising. Music leads to less physical burnout, more exercise time, and more calories burned. Numerous studies have also connected music with improved mood and energy. It has worked for Olympic athletes, and it will work for you. As AMERICA’S DOCTOR, I have a few recommendations.

My daily yoga and exercise routines wouldn’t be complete without the right tunes. If you need some motivation, feel free to borrow some of my choices. My playlist is a mix of fast and slower-paced songs – as you can see, I’m quite the ‘80s fan.

The energy of Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello get me through more intense workouts. The slower, relaxing songs perfectly complement a successful warm-up or cool-down session.

Watch this space as I post more of my favorite songs and playlists throughout the year. Maybe you’ll find more new favorites!

Why Your Smartphone Poses a New Threat to Your Health

As many states ban the dangerous practice of texting while driving, texting while walking is fast becoming a threat to public health. Viral videos on the web show a California man so focused on his phone that he almost walks into a wild bear; another one shows a woman tripping into a fountain at a Pennsylvania shopping mall. These incidents may sound funny, but the danger is very real.

Emergency physicians have reported injuries including facial fractures, blunt head trauma, lacerations, nosebleeds, and foot and ankle injuries. Newspapers have reported on phone-fixated victims who stumble off subway platforms, fall off piers, or trip into ditches.

Many of us are guilty of texting while en route to our destinations, and most of us think we’ll never have one of these accidents. However, the numbers don’t lie: The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported over 1100 injuries last year in the US related to texting while walking, a number that has quadrupled in the last seven years. However, the actual number of injuries is suspected to be higher. Read more  »

Butter Flavoring May Aggravate Alzheimer’s

We use fake butter for everything: baking, cooking, popcorn. However, recent research has shown that it may be bad for our brain.

All that fake butter on your popcorn at the theater may be delicious, but it might make you forget the movie later on. That flavoring most likely comes from diacetyl (DA), a chemical that gives a buttery taste to popcorns, margarines and baked goods. Diacetyl also forms naturally in the fermentation process of beer and wine. A recent study shows that diacetyl can aggravate the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimers disease afflicts approximately 10% to 15% of individuals over the age of 65. Those with a family history of Alzheimer’s are already at risk for developing the disease; however, many lifestyle choices have been attributed to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Some notable ones include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. Its progression has been linked to a disturbance of prooxidant-antioxidant balance in the brain, which can be exacerbated by poor nutrition and various toxic chemicals.

Alzheimer’s has been linked to the buildup of damaging proteins in the human brain. The two damaging proteins include beta amyloid and tau protein. Researchers from the Center for Drug Design at the University of Minnesota linked diacetyl with an increase in the clumping of beta amyloid protein. The flavorful chemical apparently worsens the protein’s effects on the brain. Read more  »