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Health pearls

We live in an era of maybe “too much" medical information. As most of us know, medical information and opinions can drastically change over time. For example, when I was a resident in OBGYN more than 20 years ago, it was common for a menopausal woman to be placed on “Estrogen Replacement Therapy" for multiple reasons such as osteoporosis prevention, hot flashes, and heart protection. We were told how estrogen treatment in the menopause years can even raise HDL or the “good" cholesterol. After the WHO study was released in 2002, however, we learned how estrogen therapy can raise the risk of breast cancer! Gone also is the heart protection theory from years ago.

For decades, we also had told our female patients how important it was to take calcium supplements to protect their bones. Now, however, we tell them to wait until after menopause to consider this supplement, as the scientific community now warns us of the elevated incidence of kidney stones. One clinical study even reported how too much calcium supplementation can be hazardous to cardiac health, only to be struck down about two weeks ago by another scientist whose observations of the literature led him to conclude that this “cardiac hazard" was not true!

In Health Pearls, we will try to summarize some recent scientific studies for you in the hope that the information will help you lead a more healthy life. However, we hope we won’t have to oscillate back and forth, telling you one week to stop doing what we were advising the prior week! We do not claim to be experts in all medical fields but rest assured that we do practice what we preach.

Recently, I was amused when I watched a video clip from a famous physician, now in the league of Hollywood celebrities, making recommendation on a “weight loss pill" made out of Mangosteen, one of my favorite childhood tropical fruits.

“One pill a day and you will lose FOUR pounds a month!"

Four pounds a month? That sounds pretty easy, no more harassment from Michelle Obama for those “Not moving” people? No more injuries at the gym trying to run faster to burn more calories? Just imagine, many Americans would love to sit in front of their TV taking Mangosteen pills watching the Food Network! Who would have thought we could solve the obesity problem in America by taking Mangosteen pills?

I can reassure you that I know many obese Asians who eat Mangosteen. Maybe they did not eat enough mangosteen? How many mangosteens does it take to make a pill, I wonder?

We hope all the pearls we will be gathering will help you on your journey to good health and happiness!

Thu



Is it true what they say about coconut oil?
written by Marsha Seidelman, M.D.
on Tuesday, 22nd August, 2017

There had been so much advertising and new product development around coconut oil - and all things coconut - that I thought I would let you in on what the medical literature says. Looks like it should be a short-lived fad if science has anything to do with it! Despite the fact that there are no good data on health benefits related to coconut oil, 72% of the American public ...

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Tips for the Eclipse
written by Holly M. Gross, M.D.
on Saturday, 19th August, 2017

The Great American Solar Eclipse will be darkening our skies on August 21, 2017. The area of totality is in a narrow strip of the country from Oregon to South Carolina, but those of us in other parts of the country will at least see a partial solar eclipse, meaning the moon never quite completely blocks the sun. The last time that happened in the United States was 1918. ...

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Three Quick Tips For Change
written by Jody Miller, M.A., RCEP
on Sunday, 6th August, 2017

Approaches & Strategies: ** What is your WHY? Ask yourself… what do I want to change? What do I REALLY want from my life? Having a WHY gives us purpose and direction. It helps to reinforce our actions making sense of our choices and behaviors. Change is more difficult without a WHY… Nutrition & Fitness: ** Fiber 25-35 grams/day Summer is a perfect ...

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Postpartum depression - a common but often overlooked problem
written by Harita Raja, M.D.
on Saturday, 29th July, 2017

One in five women will experience postpartum depression. The same number, or more, will suffer from postpartum anxiety (let’s save this topic for another time). For many women, especially first-time mothers, the change from their baseline to being a new mother is so different that it is a challenge to make sense of any possible symptoms of depression. Depression often ...

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Health News: Coffee Consumption and Longevity; High Dose Vitamin D Decreases Sunburn Effects; Antidepressants' Effects in Pregnancy;Antibiotics and Birth Defects...
written by Thu Tran, MD,FACOG
on Friday, 21st July, 2017

Coffee Consumption Could Improve Lifespan Two large studies, recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found a link between lower mortality risk and coffee consumption. The study from University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles, reviewed data on185,855 of middle aged to older Americans over a decade. The researchers found ...

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Updates on Hormone Therapy in Menopause
written by Marilyn Jerome, M.D., FACOG
on Wednesday, 14th June, 2017

As a practicing ob-gyn for the last 35 years, I have certainly seen the “hormone wars.” As is true in so many subjects in medicine, studies are presented that demonstrate a significant benefit of a drug or supplement, only to be challenged months or years later with the opposite findings, leading to confusion and angst, and concerns about the harm that this intervention ...

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Health News: Hepatitis C Rates in Pregnancy; Wine and Breast Cancer; Foods and Depression; Breast Cancer Rates in Asian American Women...
written by Thu Tran, MD,FACOG
on Friday, 26th May, 2017

Hepatitis C (HCV) On the Rise in Pregnant Women US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report showed a doubling between 2009 to 2014 of hepatitis C (HCV) infections in pregnant women. Increased incidences were found especially in W. Virginia and Tennessee where there’s a high risk for opioid addiction. The HCV rate nationwide ...

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Zero to 50,000 - The 20th Anniversary of the Hospitalist
written by Marsha Seidelman, M.D.
on Thursday, 6th April, 2017

Patients often ask which hospital they should go to in an emergency. I tell them they can go to whichever one they prefer, since my group no longer rounds at the hospital. Our patients are taken care of by the hospital-based doctors. Let’s discuss why this came about and how you can advocate for yourself if you require admission. The field of ‘hospitalists’ ...

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Health News: Pregnancy Risks in Cancer Survivors; Lymphoma in Breast Implants; BRCA Testing Rate; Depression on the Rise; Gum Disease and Shortened Lifespan; Marathon Runners and Kidney Disease...
written by Thu Tran, MD,FACOG
on Saturday, 1st April, 2017

Cancer Survivors and Pregnancy Risks A study from the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina shows potential risks of preterm labor, low birth weight infants, and higher cesarean section rate in women with history of cancer. The study gathered data from 15,000 births of women ranging from 15-39 years old. The study was published online in JAMA Oncology. ...

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Talking to Your Spouse About Couples Therapy
written by Emily Cook, PhD, LCMFT
on Sunday, 19th March, 2017

Lots of people – mostly women – give my Bethesda psychotherapy practice a call to begin couples therapy. Most of the time, both spouses are committed to seeking help and we’re able to get started right away. Unfortunately, sometimes one partner is desperately wanting couples therapy but needs guidance about how to ask their spouse to join. It’s a tricky ...

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Latest entries
Is it true what they say about coconut oil?
Tips for the Eclipse
Into the Wild...But Know Your Limits!
Three Quick Tips For Change
Postpartum depression - a common but often overlooked problem
Health News: Coffee Consumption and Longevity; High Dose Vitamin D Decreases Sunburn Effects; Antidepressants' Effects in Pregnancy;Antibiotics and Birth Defects...
A Walk in the Wild: My Adventure with Wilderness Medicine

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