Reader’s Digest on Health

Great information and advice.

The Reader’s Digest has an excellent Web site dedicated to health-related issues: https://www.rd.com/health/. As the site notes — “Learn the latest health news along with easy ways to adopt a healthy lifestyle. From diet and weight loss tips to advice on managing and preventing diabetes, we’ll keep you looking and feeling your best.”

Here are a few recent posts:

Click the image to read more.

Reader's Digest on Health
 

Getting a Better Night’s Sleep

Sleeping myths!

We’ve written before about the importance of sleeping. [See Are YOU Sleeping Well Enough.] Now, we consider some myths about sleep.

As  Sandee LaMotte writes for CNN:

“What you believe about sleep may be nothing but a pipe dream. Many of us have notions about sleep that have little basis in fact and may even be harmful to our health, according to researchers at NYU Langone Health’s School of Medicine, which conducted a study published in the journal Sleep Health.”

“‘There’s such a link between good sleep and our waking success,” said lead study investigator Rebecca Robbins of NYU Langone Health. ‘And yet we often find ourselves debunking myths, whether it’s to news outlets, friends, family or a patient.’ Robbins and her colleagues combed through 8,000 Web sites to discover what we thought we knew about healthy sleep habits and then presented those beliefs to a hand-picked team of sleep medicine experts. They determined which were myths and then ranked them by degree of falsehood and importance to health.”

 

Click here to learn about 10 very wrong, unhealthy assumptions about sleep.

Breathing Matters — Air Quality Must Be Better

American Lung Association’s 2019 state of the air report.

No matter how hard we try to live well, and to be healthy, the quality of the air we breathe is pretty much beyond our individual control. But, we need to know more.

The American Lung Association annually publishes research on the State of the Air. These are among the air-related resources of the Association. Click the links for further information:

    • Key Findings. “More than four in 10 people live where pollution levels are too often dangerous to breathe.”
    • City Rankings. “Which cities have the highest levels of air pollution? Which are the cleanest? Check out the lists here.”
    • Health Risks. “Ozone and particle pollution are the most widespread pollutants — and among the most dangerous.”
    • For the Media. “Journalists can access press releases, experts available for interview, b-roll, the full ‘State of the Air’ report, and more.”
    • Join Our Fight. “The American Lung Association fights to clean up the air we breathe. We fight because dirty air harms our health and can threaten life itself. Would you join us in the fight for air?”
    • Shared Stories. “We all have a reason to fight for clean air. People just like you have shared some personal stories that highlight the need for healthy, safe air. Read the stories they have shared or share your own.”

Click the image below to access the full 2019 167-page report.

Breathing Matters -- Air Quality Must Be Better
 

New Hope for Those with Pancreatic Cancer

Mayo Clinic providing new options.

For those who follow this blog, you know that I am a VERY fortunate pancreatic cancer survivor. Since my cancer was diagnosed early, I was able to have a successful Whipple surgery. For most, the outlook is not as positive.

But, new research presents greater hope for the future. As Erika Edwards reports for NBC News:

“Historically, doctors have given pancreatic cancer patients chemotherapy or radiation hoping it would cause the tumor to shrink or pull away from the artery or vein it’s ensnared. Dr. Mark Truty, a surgical oncologist at Mayo Clinic, believes that’s the wrong approach. ‘You’re going to be sorely disappointed if that’s what you’re expecting’, Truty told NBC News.”

“About a third of pancreatic cancer cases are found at stage 3. Truty estimates about half of his pancreatic cancer patients diagnosed at this stage seek his care after other physicians said their tumors could not be surgically removed. His team’s approach to treating stage 3 pancreatic cancer is different from most other oncology practices”

“The Mayo Clinic approach works like this. Patients are given extended, personalized chemotherapy until levels of a tumor marker in the blood called CA 19-9 fall to a normal range. Then if a PET scan shows the tumor is destroyed, doctors move forward with radiation and surgery.”

“Among 194 pancreatic cancer treated this way at the Mayo Clinic, 89 percent lived longer than the expected 12 to 18 months. The approach has pushed average survival to five years after diagnosis, according to a study by the Mayo Clinic.

To learn more, watch the following video. Note: The beginning of the video may be a downer. But the overall video is hopeful.


 

Using Robotics to Help Those with Severe Disabilities

Advances in robotics are quite helpful.

For those with severe physical disabilities, even simple tasks may be difficult. And that can be depressing. But, companies are making great strides with robotics. These advances have the potential to increase the quality of life. Read below and then view the video.

Here is one example, as discussed by John Toon of Georgia Tech:

“An interface system with augmented reality technology could help people with profound motor impairments operate a humanoid robot to feed themselves and perform routine personal care tasks. Those tasks might include feeding and performing routine personal care tasks such as scratching an itch and applying skin lotion. The web-based interface displays a ‘robot’s eye view’ of surroundings to help users interact with the world through the machine.”

“Described in PLOS ONE, the system could help make sophisticated robots more useful to people who don’t have experience operating complex robotic systems. Study participants interacted with the robot interface using standard assistive computer access technologies—such as eye trackers and head trackers—that they already used to control their personal computers.”

“The paper reports on two studies showing how such ‘robotic body surrogates’ — which can perform tasks similar to those of humans —could improve the quality of life for users. The work could provide a foundation for developing faster and more capable assistive robots.”


 

Still More Tips for Living Well

Lots of advice on relaxation, controlling anger, and being energetic.

In this post, we offer additional tips for living well. Previously, we posted about: More Tips for Living Well and Living Better and Being Happier.

Still More Tips for Living Well

Relax

Still More Tips for Living Well

Control Anger

Still More Tips for Living Well

Be More Energetic

Still More Tips for Living Well

 

Two Research-Based Medication Findings

Studies on kidney disease and A-fib.

As we know, particular medications may or may not be for us. Even if they are fine for others. Let’s consider two examples.

Heartburn and Our Kidneys

Marget Robinson of the University of Buffalo reports that:

“Common medications for heartburn, acid reflux, and ulcers are linked to increased risks of kidney failure and chronic kidney disease, according to a new study. Use of proton pump inhibitors (PPI), a group of drugs that reduce the production of stomach acid, may increase risk as much as 20 percent — and also come with a four times greater risk of kidney failure, researchers say. People at least 65 years old have the highest risk.”

“The research, which appears in Pharmacotherapy, is one of the first large, long-term studies to examine the effects of PPIs on kidney function. Researchers examined health data of more than 190,000 patients over a 15-year period. This study adds to a growing list of concerning side effects and adverse outcomes associated with PPIs,’ says David Jacobs, lead investigator and assistant professor of pharmacy practice in the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. ‘Given the increasing global use of PPIs, the relationship between PPIs and renal disease could pose a substantial disease and financial burden to the health care system and public health.'”

Click the image to read more.

Two Research-Based Medication Findings

 

A-Fib and Aspirin

Sarah Avery of Duke University reports that:

“The drugs apixaban and clopidogrel — without aspirin — comprise the safest treatment regimen for certain patients with atrial fibrillation (A-fib), according to new research. The finding — which applies specifically to patients with A-fib who have had a heart attack and/or are undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention—should reassure clinicians and patients that dropping aspirin results in no significant increase in ischemic events such as heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots.”

“The researchers presented data from the large study, known as AUGUSTUS, at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting. ‘We have a lot of studies on antithrombotic drugs in patients with coronary artery disease and similarly in patients with A-fib, but few studies in patients with both conditions,’ says cardiologist Renato D. Lopes, principal investigator for the trial and a member of the Duke University Clinical Research Institute. ‘The reality is that doctors and patients have a challenge in treating these patients without causing bleeding. The results of this trial give us an opportunity to better understand how to best treat them.'”

Now, look at a brief video on the study.