20 Fun and Amazing Health Facts.

1 Jan

1.) Women have a better sense of smell than men. 2.) When you take a step, you use up to 200 muscles. 3.) Your ears secrete more earwax when you are afraid than when you aren’t. 4.) The human brain has the capacity to store everything you experience. 5.) It takes twice as long to lose new muscle if you stop working out than it did to gain it. 6.) The average person’s skin weighs twice as much as their brain. 7.) Every year your body replaces 98% of your atoms. 8.) On average, there are 100 billion neurons in the human brain. 9.) The lifespan of a taste bud is ten days.  10.) Dentists recommend you keep your toothbrush at least 6 feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles caused by flushing.  11.) Your tongue is the only muscle in your body that is attached at only one end. 12.) Your stomach produces a new layer of mucus every two weeks so that it doesn’t digest itself. 13.) It takes about 20 seconds for a red blood cell to circle the whole body. 14.) The pupil of the eye expands as much as 45% when a person looks at something pleasing. 15.) Your heart rate can rise as much as 30% during a yawn. 16.) Your heart pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood each day. 17.) Your heart beats over 100,000 times a day. 18.) Your hair grows faster in the morning than at any other time of day.  19.) Your body is creating and killing 15 million red blood cells per second. 20.) You’re born with 300 bones, but when you reach adulthood, you only have 206!

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The Most Important Principles for Staying Young: Intention and Prevention

12 Nov

Our basic premise is that your body is amazing.  You get a do over. It doesn’t take that long, and it isn’t that hard if you know what to do.  In these notes, we give you a short course in what to do so it becomes easy for you and for you to teach others. We want you to know how much control you have over both the quality and length of your life.

This month, let’s talk about intention and prevention, starting with findings from two recent studies that led to the following dogma-contradicting headline: Data from nearly 20,000 older adults showed that taking aspirin as a preventative measure had no effect on survival rates of healthy, elderly individuals. That conclusion raised eyebrows in the medical community because taking aspirin has been associated with positive health outcomes—fewer heart attacks and strokes, as well as a lower risk for nine cancers. But the “no-benefit” conclusion also raised our eyebrows for another reason: The method used—an “intention-to-treat analysis” in both studies—may be misleading if it’s the only way used to report outcomes of various preventive behaviors such as exercise, smoking cessation, and lowering stress.

Here’s how it works, in simple terms. In an intention-to-treat analysis, you can divide study subjects into various groups. Say you want to measure the effect of exercise on bodyweight. One group is assigned to exercise (the investigators “intend” them to exercise) and one group is asked not to exercise (is “intended” not to exercise). And then researchers would measure bodyweight at the end of the allotted time period and draw conclusions about the effect of exercise on bodyweight.

See the problem? The methodology doesn’t even look at if the study subjects actually even exercised.

So, what happens to the data if many of those who intended to exercise never did and some of those who didn’t intend to exercise decided at some point to sweat their tail off five days a week?

Exactly. The data becomes more mixed up than a vat of jambalaya. And there’s no way to draw any conclusions about what effect actual exercise did or didn’t have on a person’s bodyweight. What’s really measured is how well participants in the study were motivated to follow the behaviors assigned to their group.

This is what happened in these two studies. In the first study, an intention-to-treat analysis involving almost 7,000 people in each group, the researchers concluded that taking a low-dose aspirin provided no benefit in reducing cardiovascular deaths, strokes, or heart attacks. That was the headline.  But the research team also separately examined the data of almost 4,000 people in each group who followed the protocol at least 60 percent of the time. The researchers observed a very significant 47 percent reduction in heart attacks. That was never mentioned in the mainstream news coverage I saw.  (Disclosure:  I have no commercial or equity interest in any company known to produce aspirin.)

The same issue came up in the other study. In the group that intended to take the aspirin, 38 percent of the group intending to take aspirin didn’t do it 80 percent of the time. And in the group that didn’t intend to take it, some—it looks like 8 percent; it is unclear—in the placebo group did take it. This means it’s a jumbled-up batch of data and where, in my opinion, the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine could have insisted the authors analyze the data of those who followed the protocols, as no place in the three articles about that study is there analysis of actual takers or non-takers.

Using only intention-to-treat analysis looks at this question: Did people assigned to preventive measures like exercise, smoking cessation, or taking a daily low-dose aspirin actually do so? However, it may be more useful to ask a question like, “Is exercise or smoking cessation or aspirin effective when done as prescribed?”

It should be noted that the study authors and others maintain that an intention-to-treat analysis is a good way to do studies about preventive medicine, because they say it’s a “real-life scenario” of how well patients follow protocol—sometimes they do, something they don’t do what they’re supposed to do. However, I maintain that—while it may simulate how people follow preventative guidelines—it doesn’t show whether a treatment is effective or not. Preventative lifestyle behaviors only work when you actually carry them out, not if you merely intend to do so.

 Thanks for reading. Feel free to send questions to: AgeProoflife@gmail.com

Dr. Mike Roizen

PS: Please continue to order the new book by Jean Chatzky and myself, AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip. 

 

 

NOTE: You should NOT take this as medical advice.

This article is of the opinion of its author.

Before you do anything, please consult with your doctor.

You can follow Dr Roizen on twitter @YoungDrMike (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories of the week).  The YOU docs have two newly revised books: The patron saint “book” of this column YOU Staying Young—revised and YOU: The Owner’s Manual…revised —yes a revision of the book that started Dr Oz to being Dr OzThese makes great gifts—so do YOU: ON a Diet and YOU: The Owner’s Manual for teens.  

 

Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. His radio show streams live on http://www.radioMD.com Saturdays from 5-7 p.m. He is the co-author of 4 #1 NY Times Best Sellers including: YOU Staying Young.

Great Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

8 Nov

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is caused when the median nerve is compressed as it passes through the tight bony carpal tunnel at the wrist. The condition can result in pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand, and it can affect one’s ability to carry out everyday life and work tasks. Here are a few GREAT exercises for CTS that require no equipment and can be done anytime and anywhere:

PRAYER: Place your hands in a “prayer” position. Touch the palm-side finger pads together and slowly push the palms into one another while keeping the elbows up as much as possible as you feel a strong stretch in the hands, fingers, and palm-side of the forearms.

SHAKE: Shake your hands for 10-15 seconds as if you just washed them and you’re trying to air dry them off.

WRIST FLEXION STRETCH: Hold your arm out in front of you with the elbow straight, palm facing down. With the opposite hand, bend the wrist as far downward as possible so the fingers point to the ground. This will produce a strong stretch in the muscles located in the back or top of the forearm. Repeat five to ten times holding each stretch for 15–20 seconds (as tolerated).

These exercises can be repeated multiple times a day, as often as once per hour.  It is often very helpful to set a timer on your cell phone to remind you to take a stretch break. A “good pain” (stretch) is considered safe while sharp or radiating pain may be potentially harmful. However, if you experience sharp, lancinating, or radiating pain, then stop or modify the exercise.

Frequently, CTS involves more than just the wrist, and exercises that target the neck, shoulder, and elbow can often hasten recovery. This is especially true when there is “double crush syndrome” where the median nerve is entrapped in more than one location such as the neck, shoulder, elbow, or forearm (as well as the wrist).

Chiropractic management of CTS can include manipulation and mobilization of the hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, shoulder, and neck. Muscle release techniques are often employed as well as the use of physical therapy modalities such as laser, electric stimulation, ultrasound, and others. The use of night splints to keep the wrist straight when sleeping is a “standard” used by most healthcare providers. Co-management with primary care may be appropriate if diabetes, inflammatory arthritis, or other complicating conditions are present.

 

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.

Can Exercise Prevent Low Back Pain?

5 Nov

While it’s not possible to totally prevent low back pain (LBP), individuals who regularly exercise appear to have a reduced risk for LBP. Additionally, fit adults who develop back pain may experience it less often, at a reduced intensity, and for a shorter duration than those who lead a more sedentary lifestyle.

Which type of exercise is the best? A general rule is to keep trying different activities, starting with those MOST appealing to you. After all, you should enjoy exercise, so start with your favorites: walking (one of the best), walk/run combinations, running/jogging, bicycling, swimming/water aerobics, yoga, Pilates, core strengthening, balance exercises, tennis, basketball, golfing, etc.

Specific exercises for the low back can be individualized by determining your “position preference”, or the position that feels best to your low back. For example, bend forward as if to touch your toes. How does that feel? Do you feel a good stretch or pain? Does it shoot pain down your leg? If it feels good, then that might be your preferred position and the one to emphasize with exercise. Examples of exercises that fit this scenario include (but are not limited to): posterior pelvic tilts (flatten your low back by rocking your pelvis forward); single and double knee to chest; and bending forward from a chair (as if to touch the floor).

If bending backward feels good (better than flexion and especially if the presence of leg pain lessens or disappears), then “extension-biased” exercises fit that scenario. Examples include standing back extensions (place your hands behind the low back and bend backward); prone “press-ups” (lift the chest off the floor while keeping the pelvis down); and laying back-first over a Bosu- or Gym-ball.

Pelvic dysfunction and core weakness can also increase the risk for LBP. Try these exercises: abdominal crunches (bend one knee, place your hands behind your low back, and raise the breast bone toward the ceiling only a few inches and hold); front and side planks (start from the knees if necessary); supine bridges (supine, knees bent, lift the buttocks off the floor); “bird-dog” (kneel on all fours and raise the opposite leg and arm, keep good form, and alternate); and the “dead-bug” (on your back, bend the hips and knees at 90 degrees with your arms reaching toward the ceiling; slowly lower your right arm and left leg and return them to their starting position; repeat with the other arm/leg).

When lifting, bend the knees and hips but NOT your low back; keep weights close to you and lift with your legs. Don’t attempt lifts that you know are too heavy.

If you have a history of low back pain, research shows that receiving maintenance chiropractic care can help reduce the number of days in which low back pain may hinder your activities.

 

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.

The Role of Diet in ADHD…

29 Oct

Due to concern about the side effects and the long-term use of medications typically prescribed to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), there is an increasing demand for alternative forms of treatment for patients with the condition, with dietary medications and supplementation showing promise.

Research has shown that deficiencies in zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium, selenium, glutathione, and/or omega-3 fatty acids can contribute to oxidative stress and altered neural plasticity needed for brain development and healing. For children with ADHD, this can manifest as poor concentration and memory and learning challenges.

Hypersensitivity to foods and/or additives can increase inflammation in the blood, which presents in children as atopy (hereditary allergy like asthma, hay fever, or hives), irritability, sleep issues, and prominent hyperactive-impulsive symptoms. Studies have demonstrated that taking a probiotic can help manage inflammation, which may benefit children with ADHD as well.

The link between ADHD and food additives including (but not limited to) preservatives, artificial flavorings, and colorings has been debated for decades. A 2007 Lancet publication reported that sodium benzoate and commonly used food colorings may exacerbate hyperactive behavior in children under the age of nine. A 2010 follow-up study concluded that children affected by these types of additives may share common genetic factors.

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) and phospholipids are both essential for normal neuronal structure and function, of which diet is the only source of these important nutrients, especially during critical periods of development (childhood). Dietary deficiency early in life has been reported to increase the risk of developing ADHD signs and symptoms.

Past studies have established the importance of maintaining a healthy balance between the omega-3 vs. omega-6 fatty acids in one’s diet to reduce systemic inflammation. When the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 becomes too high (3:1 is favorable), it’s considered a risk factor for ADHD.

Diets low in protein and high in carbohydrates (refined carbs/sugar) are also a well-known risk factor for developing ADHD because the amino acids that make up proteins are essential for our body to manufacture neurotransmitters.

 

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.

Whiplash Management Options – Where Does Chiropractic Fit In?

25 Oct

Recent studies suggest that in a rear-end collision, the injuries collectively described as whiplash associated disorders (WAD) result from the simultaneous hyperextension of the lower cervical spine and hyperflexion of the upper cervical spine. This can lead to a variety of injuries to the bony and/or soft tissues of the neck, some of which may not manifest for hours, days, or even weeks following a car accident.

Traditionally, doctors have advised patients with an acute whiplash injury to limit movement, which may have included the use of a cervical collar. However, more recent studies have found that restricting motion in the neck can actually hinder recovery from WAD. Rather, new data suggests that early mobilization actually improves outcomes for WAD patients, reducing their risk for long-term disability.

The primary form of treatment utilized by doctors of chiropractic is spinal manipulation (SM), which is described as a high velocity, low amplitude (HVLA) thrust applied to specific joints in the neck, mid-back, low-back, pelvic regions as well as to extremity joints. Manipulation improves the mobility of the spinal facet joints, which allows for an increase in the global range of motion of the neck.

SM also breaks the vicious pain cycle where the inflow of sensory information to the brain is attenuated, thus reducing the reflex muscle spasm and accompanying pain. Additionally, there is substantial evidence that SM increases pain tolerance or thresholds by modulating central (brain) sensory processing (called central sensitization). There are also measurable neuro-endocrine benefits following SM as well as many other measurable “somato-visceral” reflex responses.

Chiropractic management of WAD injuries includes not only SM (both HVLA and non-thrust types), but also soft-tissue therapies, exercise training, the use of physiotherapy modalities (electric stim, ultrasound, laser or light therapy, and more), nutritional counseling, ergonomic/work modifications, and more. Doctors of chiropractic frequently co-manage WAD patients with other healthcare providers when it is appropriate.

 

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.

Neck Pain – Is It Arthritis?

23 Oct

There are many different types of arthritis, with the most common being osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD). Osteoarthritis is often referred to as the “wear-and-tear” type of arthritis, as the smooth, cushion-like, shiny cartilage covering the joints that allows for a nice gliding surface wears down. This can cause pain, swelling, loss of motion, and spurs that further limit motion. According to the Arthritis Foundation, OA/DJD affects about 27 million Americans and is most commonly found in the knees, hips, low back, neck, small joints of the fingers, and base of the thumb and big toe.

In one study, researchers reviewed cervical x-rays and detected spondylosis—degeneration of the intervertebral disks, which rest between the vertebrae of our spine—in approximately 60% of non-symptomatic persons more than 40 years old and in 95% of men and 70% of women over age 60. Similarly, cervical spine MRIs of individuals without neck pain frequently show a disk bulge or herniation.  According to the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (5th edition), 30% of us who have never had neck or back pain will test positive for a herniated disk and 50% or more will have bulging disks on a CT or MRI!

So, if you have neck pain and your doctor takes images that show arthritis or a disk problem is present, how do you know whether or not DJD is to blame? The answer is: it varies and must be clinically determined on a case-by-case basis.

Though frustrating, the ability to determine what is truly generating a patient’s pain can be a challenge. This is why a careful, detailed history and examination of the patient, as well as tracking their response to treatment, is so important. Doctors of chiropractic approach these conditions with various forms of manual therapies including (but not limited to): joint manipulation; mobilization; massage; trigger point therapy; exercise training; activity modifications; self-management strategies, such as traction; the use of specially designed pillows; modalities such as electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and laser therapy; and nutritional counseling to reduce inflammatory markers. Guidelines published around the world recommend joint manipulation for neck pain and headaches as one of the first courses of care because it is both safe and effective.

 

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.