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Hands-Off Cold Season?

Kids get 6 to 8 colds a year.

New research now says the best medicine for a child’s common cold?
Nearly nothing at all.

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The Basics:

  • British Medical Journal review.
  • Researchers weighed risks and effectiveness of over-the-counter medicines for adults and children.
  • Conclusions: Children showed no clear improvement from ANY medications (or alternative treatments like honey or Vitamin C) except for “saline nasal irrigation.”
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“The bottom line is that for all of the over-the-counter cough and cold medications, there is limited to no evidence of efficacy for any cold symptoms, particularly in those under 6 years.”

Dr. Ian Paul, professor of pediatrics at Penn State College of Medicine, reacting to the research. Since 2007 he's studied cold treatments for children and his research showed that a dose of “buckwheat honey" 30 minutes before bed, often had the best results for children (and their parents).
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How Do You Know When A Cold Is A Cold?

“A common cold tends to have symptoms from neck up.”

Dr. Darria, MD, Mom & Author of the upcoming book "Mom Hacks" says "If your child has a really high fever, if they're acting lethargic, if they have significant pain in any one spot (sore throat, ear pain), those suggest something more than a common cold."
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SmartHER Tips

What Dr. Darria Does:

  • Nasal saline rinse & suction.
  • A teaspoon of honey (for children over a year old) at bedtime.
  • Cold mist humidifier.
  • Breathing cold air (outside or from the freezer) can help reduce swelling & soothe children.
  • Treat fever as needed (Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen).
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Adults get on avg. 2 to 4 colds a year & the British Medical Journal review showed adults benefited *somewhat* from antihistamines & decongestants. Check out our source page for a very cool graphic by the British Medical Journal that shows what works and what doesn’t

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LLAMA LLAMA

 

 

The star of a famous children’s book may provide life-saving antibodies to protect us against the flu.  Why llamas may be just what the doctor ordered.

 

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Breaking It Down

  • The flu vaccine prompts our body to create antibodies to attack the flu virus.
  • Currently the flu vaccine targets specific flu strains. But flu strains mutate often & sometimes the vaccines don’t match the most aggressive strains of the season.
  • The Goal: A universal vaccine that can target many flu strains at one time, giving us more protection.
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New Research

  • Gave llamas the flu vaccine
  • Collected antibodies llamas produced
  • Combined the llama antibodies into a “mega” antibody capable of recognizing many different flu strains
  • Sprayed the llama antibodies into mice through their nose and the mice did NOT get flu
  • Goal: Do the same for humans.
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“This approach is similar to antivenom.”

Ted Ross, University of Georgia’s Center for Vaccines & Immunology who cautioned the human immune system may actually attack the llama antibodies instead of using them to protect against the flu. Researchers believe humans might need to get several doses of the antibodies to be protected, raising concerns about whether or not we would build up immunity to the antibodies.
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In The Meantime…

“Getting your flu shot, avoiding touching public surfaces (think elevator buttons, stairwell railings), and washing your hands frequently is the best way to stay safe – and what I’m doing!”

Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, ER doctor & author of upcoming book "Mom Hacks." Reminder: The flu vaccine, on average, is about 45% effective.
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Why use llamas? Their antibodies are particularly small and easy to latch onto viruses like the flu. Meantime, 120 Americans are participating in a study to see if a vaccine that prompts the body to fight a variety of flu strains is ultimately effective.

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Halloween Fear Factor

 

 

 

A day devoted to being frightened, but WHY does our brain *like* to be scared?

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New Scare Study Findings

  • Surveyed those *voluntarily* visiting an “extreme” haunted house.
  • Afterwards, about half reported being in a better mood.
  • Those who wore brain sensors had decreased brain activity, suggesting “being scared interrupts their thinking.”
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Why It Matters

That interruption in thinking may mean people were processing info more efficiently or that they were in a relaxed “zen” state.

Important to note: this research is for *voluntarily* scary situations and one where there was no real threat to begin with.

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“It is a reprioritizing of energy, of focus into the body. You’re grounded, not being caught up in thinking.”

Margie Kerr, a sociologist at the University of Pittsburgh and co-author of the study, likening the feeling to a runner's experience in which you push yourself and then feel-good endorphins rush through the body.
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Science: Control is Key

Our “thinking” brain communicates with our “emotional” brain when we are in a safe space, changing our feeling from fear to enjoyment (i.e. seeing a lion at the zoo vs. a lion in wild.)

If we are able to overcome the initial “fight or flight” rush, we feel satisfied and more confident to confront things that initially scared us.

 

 

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Why do some loved to be scared & others hate it? Science says if the "emotional" brain is too frightened it makes "thinking" brain feel helpless (not fun). Conversely, if the "emotional brain" is bored & "thinking" brain is too overpowering, scary experiences might not be enjoyable.

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REVEALING A SECRET

 

 

A well-known Hollywood actress just came forward as one of the 2.3M people living with MS worldwide. Women are 2 to 3 times more likely to be diagnosed.

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“I have #multiplesclerosis. I am in an exacerbation. By the grace of the lord, and will power and the understanding producers at Netflix, I have a job. A wonderful job. I am disabled. I fall sometimes. I drop things. My memory is foggy. And my left side is asking for directions from a broken gps…. I don’t know exactly what I will do precisely but I will do my best.”

Actress Selma Blair revealing she was recently diagnosed with MS.
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WHAT IS MS?

“In MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body. Eventually, the disease can cause the nerves themselves to deteriorate or become permanently damaged.”

Mayo Clinic
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ALL ABOUT MS

  • Symptoms: fatigue, numbness, weakness, muscle pain, vision difficulties, & cognitive problems.
  • Cause unknown, but believed to have a genetic and/or environmental component.
  • No MS test; MS diagnosis issued after other illnesses ruled out.
  • MS requires lifelong managed care.
  • MS complications can be fatal.
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HOPE ON THE HORIZON

There is NO known MS cure.

Since 1993, the FDA has approved 14 drugs intended to slow down MS.

In 2018, the FDA approved the first drug intended to both slow down MS AND reduce its symptoms.

 

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Not only are women more likely than men to develop MS, but MS is particularly prevalent among women of childbearing age.

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FIGHTING THE FLU

Last year’s flu season was one of the deadliest in decades.

Est. 80,000 Americans died, including 183 children.

Is an ineffective flu vaccine to blame, a bad flu strain, or the fact that less than half of Americans got vaccinated?

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“By the time we figure out if a flu season is mild or not, the damage has been done. … Everyone should look at every season as if it will be a bad season. We want everyone to get vaccinated.”

Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams. Last year, a particularly dangerous virus strain (A H3N2) was found amongst patients testing positive for the flu. The nation had record hospitalizations rates & 80% of those who died from flu last year were unvaccinated.
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Flu Shot: What to Know

  • Three different flu viruses: A, B & C (“A” most common).
  • How they’re made: Viruses typically grown in chicken eggs (for last 70 yrs).
  • Won’t make you sick: Viruses killed, but body develops antibodies to fight flu. Any reaction is your body building resistance, not “getting flu.” Takes 2 weeks for immunity.
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Do I Really Need One?

  • It’s not a perfect science. Each flu vaccine includes several flu strains, but effectiveness can vary. Last year’s was 40% effective (vs. 45% avg. over last 7 years.)
  • So why get a flu shot then? “Some effectiveness better than none,” may make flu symptoms milder. CDC warns not getting flu shot, puts others at risk. You build immunity w/each shot.
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PERSPECTIVE:
1918 Flu Pandemic

This year marks 100 years since the worst flu pandemic in history, which infected one-third of the world’s population & 500,000 Americans.

Despite medical advancements, World Health Organization says “another pandemic caused by a new influenza is a certainty.” When or how severe it will be is unknown.

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Not A Unified Global Fight

  • Most developed countries have policies on flu immunization, but many & some of the most populous (ex: China, India, & Pakistan) do not have one.
  • Flu virus constantly mutates & flu guidance varies by country. (Ex: In U.S. & Canada, flu shot is recommended to everyone older than 6 mos, but in U.K. its targeted only to children & those over 65.)
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U.S. health officials recommend getting a flu shot by the end of October. Bonus for those afraid of needles, after two years of not recommending it, the CDC is now encouraging a flu nasal spray as an alternative to a flu shot.

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MEDICAL MYSTERY

30 years after polio was eliminated in America, a similar virus is paralyzing U.S. children – and there’s no vaccination.

Why the CDC is “concerned.”

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“Acute Flaccid Myelitis”

  • AFM attacks body’s nervous system, specifically the spinal cord, & can cause paralysis.
  • Primarily affects children.
  • CDC: no confirmed cause, but viruses, environmental toxins, & genetic disorders may be to blame. Still investigating.
  • No treatment; patients receive aggressive support care while the virus runs its course.
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What to Watch For

“There’s a sudden onset of weakness in the arm, leg, face, or the muscles that help us swallow and that we use to speak.”

Dr. Amaran Moodley, Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, IA. In severe cases a person can suffer respiratory failure and must be put on a ventilator.
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Important to Know

  • CDC: AFM a very rare condition.
  • Since the CDC began tracking AFM in 2014, there have been a total of 362 cases (vs. polio with 15K cases/year in 1950s.)
  • Bi-annual cycle? 2014 saw a 120 cases of AFM, but 2015 had 22. Another spike in 2016 with 149 cases & then 23 in 2017. Too early to say what it means for 2018.
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According to the CDC, 38 cases of acute flaccid myelitis have been reported in 16 states this year (through the end of September.) Colorado has seen the most cases with 14.

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Dangerous Decibels

 

 

1 in 10 American adults will suffer hearing loss in the next 2 yrs & that number will jump to 1 in 4 by 2060.
Are headphones to blame?

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How Do You Lose Your Hearing Anyway?

Overexposure to loud sound kills off tiny hair cells in your ear that transmit sound signals to your brain.

Once damaged, these cells don’t grow back and you have hearing loss.

2 out of 3 people over age 70 have trouble hearing.

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“You can certainly hurt your hearing listening to loud music, whether through earbuds or something else. But earbuds and listening to music with earbuds are not a major cause of hearing loss.”

Dr. Robert Dobie, clinical professor of otolaryngology at the University of Texas Health Science Center. One of Dr. Dobie's March 2017 studies found rates of hearing loss have actually fallen among adults aged 20-69.
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Stopping It Before It Starts

  • Wear both headphones. We use both ears to gauge sound, with just one in, you tend to turn it up.
  • Current MP3 players can’t be turned as loud as those in the 80s & 90s, but one audiologist warns newer ones might be worse because more people listen for longer periods of time.
  • 60/60 Rule: volume at less than 60% with breaks every 60 mins.
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Not Your Grandpa’s Hearing Aid

Hearing aids have gone high-tech now answering phone calls & calculating user’s steps.

Costing approx. $3-5K & rarely covered by insurance, only 20% of those over 70 wear one.

New law allows over-the-counter hearing aids by 2020 for just $80.

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Which headphones are safest? Experts recommend noise-canceling ones, especially in loud places. You're less apt to crank up music to drown out background noise, but experts warn they're not a good option when you need to hear outdoor sounds - like when running.

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THE WHOLE ANSWER

Once and for all, has the debate over dairy finally ended?

New research says Yes! (Maybe…)

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Dairy, Disease & Death

  • New study surveyed 135,000+ people in 21 countries, ages 35-70, over a 9-year period.
  • Researchers found those who consumed more milk & yogurt (either whole or low-fat), had lower risk of heart disease & death; cheese & butter did not result in any change.
  • The study is limited and doesn’t explain WHY this is the case.
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“Parents have started to look at milk not as a good thing and they are wary of it. The message to them is not to be scared of milk, or to limit its consumption, and to encourage children of all ages to keep drinking it freely.”

Dr. Mona Eissa, The University of Texas Health Science Center, on a separate study that researched obese children & dairy consumption, which found obese children who drank *any* milk had better blood sugar control.
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“Greater consumption of total dairy products may be of importance in the prevention of weight gain in middle-aged and elderly women who are initially normal weight.”

Study published in the American Journal of Nutrition 2016 that examined dairy consumption & weight gain in women. The authors found women with higher intakes of fat from dairy had lower weight gain.
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Whole Milk: Bad Rap?

  • Low-fat milk provides same calcium and nutrients as whole milk, just with lower calories/fat.
  • However, as we lower our fat content, we tend to eat more carbs and sugar.
  • Science has not fully explained why whole dairy products may lower our risk for diabetes, or weight gain.
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Overall, Americans are drinking less milk & obesity rates are rising. Some say lack of dairy is a factor since we often replace milk with other beverages. However, docs caution suddenly consuming whole milk & cheese isn't a good strategy for weight-loss or overall health.

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FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH

FOUND IN OUR VEINS?

 

Can young blood reverse aging?

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Tech’s “Death Disruption”

  • Next Big Thing? Silicon Valley start-ups currently investing millions on the use of young blood to heal, or even reverse, signs of aging like memory loss.
  • How It Works: Blood transfusions from a young person to an older person.
  • Most promising research done on mice, not conclusive for humans.
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Why It Matters: Panacea?

“Instead of taking a drug for your heart and a drug for your muscles and a drug for your brain, maybe you could come up with something that affected them all.”

Dr. Amy Wagers, Harvard professor, who showed the blood of young mice rejuvenates the hearts of old mice. Some experts believe young blood may treat Alzheimer’s & heart disease.
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Something To Consider:

Side Effects: Some believe young blood may cause cells to multiply uncontrollably (how cancer starts).

Unknowns: Cost, dosage, frequency and quality control. One U.S. clinical trial offered teenage blood to elderly at $8K/treatment, but with no peer review or control study, some questioned company’s proclaimed positive results.

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Young blood research focuses on the internal - it won't erase wrinkles. But "vampire facials" use the same blood therapy often used by athletes to repair muscles in an attempt to reverse the signs of aging. Is this the next logical step in the anti-aging industry?

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To Vape Or
Not To Vape?

Approx. 1 out of 8 U.S. adults smoke cigarettes. A new study says e-cigarette use is on the rise, especially among young people.

 

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According to new U.S. study of self-reported e-cigarette smokers 18+:

  • Nearly 1 in 20 adults vape with 1 in 3 e-cigarette users vaping daily
  • 15% never smoked cigarettes
  • More than 50% are below 35

 “The most common pattern of use in the U.S. is dual use, i.e. current use of both traditional cigarettes and electronic cigarettes.”

Dr. Michael Blaha, study co-author

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BOTTOM LINE:

E-cigarettes are NOT an FDA-approved quit smoking aid.

E-cigarettes are considered a “tobacco product” because they contain nicotine, which is highly addictive, and derived from tobacco.

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“E-cigarette aerosol generally contains fewer toxic chemicals than the deadly mix of 7,000 chemicals in smoke from regular cigarettes. However, e-cigarette aerosol is not harmless. It can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances, including nicotine, heavy metals like lead, volatile organic compounds, and cancer-causing agents.”

CDC
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E-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among U.S. adolescents. According to a 2018 National Academy of Medicine report, e-cigarette use in adolescence increases the frequency & quantity of future cigarette smoking.

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BRAIN POWER

As America continues to honor Sen. John McCain, brain cancer research delivers quite literally mind-altering innovations.

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Why Do We Call It Cancer?

“The word cancer is derived from the Latin word for crab because cancers are often very irregularly shaped, and because, like a crab, they “grab on and don’t let go.”

Johns Hopkins University describes cancer as irregular cell growth that can turn deadly. Est. 1 out of 100 cancer diagnoses will be brain cancer; it's also the second most common form of cancer in children (behind Leukemia).
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Brain Cancer Boost?

(beyond radiation, chemo & surgery)

  • Cancer Vaccines & Immunotherapy: Help the body recognize a brain tumor as an “invader” and attack it.
  • Tumor Treating Fields or TTF: A wearable device (like a cap) that uses electric fields to disrupt tumor growth (for glioblastoma -the cancer Sen. McCain had).
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“Just to use this ad that used to be out, ‘This is not your father’s Oldsmobile.’ Well, this is not your father’s brain tumor either. I want sort of give a message of hope to patients. The future will add to these treatments and make it even better.”

Dr. Suriya Jeyapalan, Tufts Medical Center neurologist, speaking about brain cancer to survivornet.com.
CLICK TO Watch
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Novocure, the company using Tumor Treatment Fields, received FDA approval for treating Glioblastoma using its device (with chemotherapy). It's also working on a device for lung, pancreatic and ovarian cancers.

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GLIOBLASTOMA

 

 

 

Sen. John McCain fell victim to one of the most common and deadliest of malignant primary brain tumors.

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Glioblastoma (GBM) 101

  • Exact cause is unknown
  • Found in the brain or spinal cord
  • Represents about 15% of all primary brain tumors
  • VERY aggressive type of brain tumor, but it usually does not spread to other parts of the body
  • Patients typically undergo surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible, followed by radiation and/or chemotherapy
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Sen. McCain is NOT the first public figure to suffer from glioblastoma

  • In 2009, McCain’s Senate colleague, Ted Kennedy (D-MA), died from the disease.
  • In 2015, Beau Biden, son of VP Joe Biden, died at 42.
  • More than 12,000 cases diagnosed last year in the U.S. – only 10% of patients survive longer than 5 years.
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“He was good company, excellent company. I think I’m going to miss him more than I can say. We disagreed on most issues, but I admitted — but I admired his passion for his convictions, his patience with the hard and sometimes dull work of legislating, and his uncanny sense for when differences could be bridged and his cause advanced by degrees.”

Sen. McCain at Sen. Kennedy's Memorial Service, August 2009
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U.S. senators Ted Kennedy and John McCain died on August 25 (Kennedy in 2009 and McCain in 2018) from glioblastoma.

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