- Why You Need to Stop Eating Egg Whites
- Breastfeeding Programs Help New Moms Stick With It: Gov Panel
- Why You Should Listen to Music When You Work Out
- There’s an Easier Way to Screen for Colon Cancer
- Here’s Some Promising News on World Polio Day
- Fibromyalgia Drug Shows Promise in Treating IBS Pain
- Teen Wakes Up From Coma Speaking Fluent Spanish: ‘It Was Weird’
Posted: 25 Oct 2016 09:43 AM PDT
Scan the “healthy” section of a brunch menu and there you’ll find it: the world’s saddest order, the egg white omelet. This time will be different, you think, these things aren’t so bad, but then you stare down at the flat, pale pancake of liquid protein and think to yourself: Why do I do this to myself?
You do it because you were told to. We all were. Until just recently, experts warned that dietary cholesterol causes spikes in blood cholesterol, which in turn clogs arteries and hurts the heart. Cholesterol is found in the yellows, not the whites, so down the drain went the yolks.
Left behind are a wobbly mix of water, protein, some vitamins and little else. These whites are also sold in one-ingredient cartons, pasteurized so they can be eaten raw. (That’s not the case for shell egg substitutes, like Egg Beaters Original, which come with egg whites but cut out cholesterol by mimicking the yolk with natural flavor and color, vegetable gums, maltodextrin and many other added ingredients.)
But there’s good reason not to fear the yolks. Scientific research has vindicated dietary cholesterol, finding that eating cholesterol has no real impact on cholesterol metabolism. That is, eating foods high in cholesterol does not mean you’ll develop high cholesterol. Some evidence suggests that eggs might even be beneficial for cholesterol by raising levels of HDL cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol that’s linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
Egg yolks contain a vibrant mix of saturated and unsaturated fat—another nutrient that, when it comes from a healthy whole food source, is unfairly slandered. Yolks have a good helping of vitamin E, one of the nutrients Americans eat too little of. But the real case for egg yolks can be made by their abundance of carotenoids, nutrients in plants and animal fats that give things like egg yolks (and even autumn leaves) their yellow color. Egg yolks are rich in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which help eye health and protect against inflammation.
Sure, you can find carotenoids in more virtuous places, like fruits and vegetables. But egg yolks have an edge. Carotenoids need to be eaten with fat in order for the body to more fully absorb them, and a whole egg is the total package. Eat them, and you’ll get more of these nutrients—not just from the eggs, but from the stuff you eat it with, too. Two large eggs provide 143 calories, 13 grams of protein and almost 10 grams of fat.
A study last year found that when people ate eggs on a raw vegetable salad, their bodies absorbed about 9 times the carotenoids, including lutein and zeaxanthin from the eggs and alpha carotene, beta carotene and lycopene from the veggies. A new one from the same authors found the same effect on vitamin E absorption as well.
Americans are notoriously bad at eating vegetables; a full 87% of them eat less than the recommended amount. If they can wring more nutrients from those they do eat by adding an egg, yolks could do a lot of good, says Purdue University nutrition researcher and study author Jung Eun Kim. “There’s no fat in egg white, so you are not going to observe the same effect.”
So next time you crack open an egg, don’t let the fatty, cholesterol-choked yolk slip away. Mix it in for good texture—and even better health.
Posted: 25 Oct 2016 08:37 AM PDT
Breastfeeding has been linked to a lower risk of negative health outcomes for both baby and mother, yet the practice is still unevenly adopted. For some women, the reasons for not breastfeeding are practical and appropriate, but evidence suggests there are many women who do breastfeed but stop earlier than they should, or who do not adopt the practice due to a lack of education. About half of women in the U.S. who start breastfeeding stop by six months.
Now a panel of experts that makes recommendations about preventive health has found that programs designed to encourage women to breastfeed their infants really do work.
That group, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), issued an update today to its 2008 recommendations about breastfeeding interventions. “The USPSTF found adequate evidence that interventions to support breastfeeding, including professional support, peer support, and formal education, change behavior and that the harms of these interventions are no greater than small,” the authors write in the paper, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. USPSTF analyzed 43 trials and found with moderate certainty that interventions to support breastfeeding increase how many women breastfeed and for how long.
Health professionals can support new and expectant mothers by talking one-on-one about the choice to breastfeed as well as teaching them how to do it, providing psychological support, and giving them supplies like breast pumps, the authors write. Formal education online or in a group setting is also effective, and family members, friends and peers can also provide support, the report says.
The authors also acknowledge that not every woman is able—or wants—to breastfeed, and say that doctors should respect those limitations or decisions.
Posted: 25 Oct 2016 05:00 AM PDT
When University of British Columbia researchers asked people who were new to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to try a sprint-interval workout either with or without music, both groups came away with positive attitudes. But those who sweated to a playlist felt even better about the routine than those who’d worked out in silence.
Listening to music may make it easier for people to adopt these types of HIIT routines, say the study authors. That could help them stay in shape, they add, by allowing them to squeeze short, effective workouts into busy days.
Lots of people exercise regularly, but they do steady-state cardio (like long, slow jogs) or low-intensity activity (like walking or yoga). And while there’s nothing wrong with those types of exercise, research has shown that interval training can provide many of the same benefits—like burning calories and strengthening your heart—in less time.
“There has been a lot of discussion in the exercise and public policy worlds about how we can get people off the couch and meeting their minimum exercise requirements,” said Kathleen Martin Ginis, PhD, professor of health and exercise sciences at the university, in a press release. “The use of HIIT may be a viable option to combat inactivity, but there is a concern that people may find HIIT unpleasant, deterring future participation.”
To examine newbies’ attitudes and intentions toward HIIT, researchers recruited 20 men and women unfamiliar with these types of workouts. After two preliminary training sessions, the participants completed two sprint interval training workouts on stationary exercise bikes about a week apart—one with music and one without. Each session included four to six 30-second “all-out” bouts of pedaling, separated by four minutes of rest.
After each session and again after a final follow-up meeting, the participants were asked to rank the workouts in terms of how enjoyable, beneficial, pleasant, painful, and valuable they found them to be. They were also asked how likely it was that they would do a similar workout three times a week going forward.
On average, the exercisers had already expressed positive assumptions about HIIT before the study began. And it turns out, their attitudes were just as positive after trying it for themselves. That was somewhat surprising, says study co-author and PhD candidate Matthew Stork, given the intensity of the workouts. But there’s more: Overall, the exercisers rated their session with music as more positive than their session without.
Somewhat surprisingly, participants’ “intention” scores (when asked if they’d continue these types of workouts) weren’t significantly different between the two sessions. Nonetheless, the authors wrote, using music to improve enjoyment and attitude toward HIIT “may eventually translate into improved [sprint-interval training] exercise intentions over time.”
It’s also possible, they admit, that the attitude boost provided by music really wasn’t enough to significantly improve participants’ intentions. But at the very least, says Stork, adding tunes to a tough workout probably won’t hurt.
“For busy people who may be reluctant to try HIIT for the first time, this research tells us that they can actually enjoy it,” he says, “and they may be more likely to participate in HIIT again if they try it with music.”
The study was published in the Journal of Sport Sciences. Participants chose their own music and selections varied widely, says Stork, although they did tend to select fast, upbeat songs. That makes sense, he says, since music with fast tempos has been shown to facilitate speed increases in previous exercise studies.
As little as three 10-minute intense HIIT sessions a week can provide meaningful health benefits, says Stork, who’s also a certified strength and conditioning coach. If people can incorporate these workouts into their regular routine, he adds, they may not necessarily have to get “the dreaded 150-minute weekly total.” (The American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, per week.)
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Stork says that HIIT can be beneficial for people of all ages and fitness levels—although he cautions that anyone with a history of heart disease or other health risks should check with his or her physician before trying a new exercise protocol.
He also recommends familiarizing yourself with the intermittent nature of HIIT before jumping right into it for the first time, and to start off with intervals that may not require you to go all-out right away.
Indoor cycling and other aerobics classes often follow an interval format (with music!) and can be a great way to get started. Just be sure to start out at your own pace, says Stork, and to talk with the instructor beforehand if you have any concerns.
“One of the best features of HIIT-based exercise is that it calls for relative intensities, which can account for a range of fitness levels, and can be modified in many ways,” he says. “Don’t be afraid to start off with a protocol consisting of 4 or 5 work bouts and eventually work your way up to 10 bouts over a few weeks. There’s no need to push yourself too hard or too fast.”
Posted: 24 Oct 2016 02:00 PM PDT
When it comes to colon cancer, the most popular strategy for screening is the colonoscopy, which involves a nearly 24-hour commitment to the prep for the invasive and uncomfortable procedure. The benefit of enduring the screening, as doctors tell us, is that if it finds suspicious polyps, the colonoscopy can remove them at the same time. Plus, for most people it’s just a once-in-every-10-years ordeal.
It’s not the only way to screen for colon cancer, but it has become the default choice. This, despite the fact that no rigorous studies have shown that colonoscopy screening can actually lead to fewer deaths from colon cancer; medical organizations that include colonoscopies in their screening options have based their advice on the fact that detecting and removing polyps must logically lower incidence, and therefore death, from the disease.
But in an editorial published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Dr. David Weinberg, chairman of medicine at the Fox Chase Cancer Center, and his colleagues argue that fecal testing is just as effective as colonoscopy in detecting lesions that are potential colon cancers.
Weinberg addresses concerns over the emergence of colonoscopy as the default, pointing out that many people are uncomfortable with the procedure, and that globally, not every country can afford the test for every citizen beyond middle age. Even in the U.S., where the use of colonoscopy is high, access to the procedure isn’t uniform.
“From the patient’s perspective, the American health establishment prefers colonoscopy; I do think that’s probably true,” says Weinberg. That means people who aren’t comfortable with the procedure might not get screened for colon cancer at all.
That’s why Weinberg and his colleagues want to alert physicians and patients to the fact that alternatives do exist, including the fecal immunochemical test, which involves sending a sample of feces in a special kit to a lab for testing. The fecal test picks up signs of blood, which can be an indication that a tumor is present.
While effective at triaging people who might have growths from those with negative tests who don’t, the fecal test requires yearly updates and means the physician has to follow up with the patient to make sure the test was done and then communicate the results when they arrive from the lab.
The added work has made the once-in-10-years colonoscopy more attractive to many primary-care doctors, but Weinberg argues that if some people are bypassing screening altogether because they aren’t enamored with the colonoscopy, then doctors should be offering them the fecal testing so they don’t miss screening for the cancer altogether.
“Really the physician should be saying okay, there are differences between fecal testing and colonoscopy and we can talk about them if you want to. What I really care about most is that you do one of them,” says Weinberg. “The only thing that is unacceptable in my perspective is that you don’t do anything.”
That means it’s up to doctors and patients to decide whether they prefer to give up one day for an invasive procedure, or to follow up yearly with fecal testing to screen for colon cancer. It’s a matter of personal choice, says Weinberg, since the science shows that either strategy is equally effective at lowering risk of the disease.
Posted: 24 Oct 2016 01:21 PM PDT
Dennis Ogbe, born in Nigeria, lost the use of his legs in 1994, when he was only 3. He was sick with malaria so he was sent to a hospital for treatment, but while he was there, he contracted polio too. The malaria went away; the polio and the paralysis that followed never did.
Children, being children, took little pity on him. When he was a bit older and wheelchair-bound, he wrestled his way to a sports field where his schoolmates were playing soccer. When they saw him, they fled to higher ground, leaving him behind. “They would take my crutches away and say, ‘Dennis, if you can take one step, you can play with us,'” he says. “So I did. And then they would say, ‘Dennis, if you can take two steps, you can play with us.'”
He did that too, and then took a lot more steps. Ogbe is now an American citizen and a paralympian, competing in shot put, discus and javelin. He is also a spokesman and advocate for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a joint effort by the Centers for Disease Control, Rotary International, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization and UNICEF, to wipe out polio for good.
Today, representatives from all of those groups and more gathered at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, for World Polio Day. For the healthcare community and policymakers worldwide, the hope is always that any one year’s World Polio Day will be the last World Polio Day, and the goal is coming tantalizingly close.
In 1988, polio was endemic in 125 countries and crippled or killed 350,000 children each year. In 2016 so far, there have been just 27 cases, and the disease has been confined to three countries—Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
“The virus is actually cornered,” said Reza Houssani, UNICEF’s Director of Polio Eradication, at a CDC press conference this afternoon. “After stalking the world for generations, polio is almost defeated.”
Nigeria had been polio free for two years—meaning the entire African continent was clear of the disease too—but in July, four cases turned up in Borno state, an area controlled by Boko Haram, where vaccinations had not taken place in three years. Warfare and extremism have also been responsible for the stubborn persistence of polio in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Taliban have made it difficult—and often deadly—for field workers to reach the children who need the vaccine.
Local military forces can help take back contested areas or at least broker ceasefires to let vaccinators in. In Nigeria, safe passage corridors have been created to allow families out of Borno. In Pakistan and Nigeria, mothers and grandmothers play a big role too, getting their children to vaccination centers and providing a certain moral throw weight behind the vaccination drives. Even the Taliban have been open to negotiations, hoping to prove that they have the basic wherewithal to administer a state—or at least the territory they control. They may or may not have anywhere near that ability, but their mere attempt to prove themselves is benefiting local children.
“There is a shrinking number of inaccessible areas,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden in a conversation with TIME. “In Pakistan especially there are encouraging signs. The surveillance indicators are strong.” In Afghanistan, the challenge is often mere geography, with the sparseness of the population making it hard for any one vaccinator to reach terribly many children.
Nigeria, meantime, is in triage mode. The four new cases sparked an immediate response, with a five-round vaccination effort now underway, in an attempt to reach 41 million children not only in Nigeria, but in four other countries in and around the Lake Chad region—Niger, Chad, Cameroon and the Central African Republic. Once that’s done, it’s all about about watching. “We stop, listen and look,” says Frieden, “and try to gather data.”
It says something about the challenge of battling any disease that the vaccine firepower brought against an outbreak can seem so disparate—41 million inoculations in response to four cases. But disease eradication is an entirely binary game—one case, given enough time, is as good as one million cases. We’re much closer to that one case of polio than we are to that one million. It is only the final jump to zero, however, that will mean the war is won.
Posted: 24 Oct 2016 12:40 PM PDT
According to a small, preliminary study, a drug that’s typically prescribed for fibromyalgia might also relieve pain related to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)—the common GI disorder estimated to affect as many as 15% of adults. There’s not enough evidence to recommend pregabalin (sold under the brand name Lyrica) to IBS patients yet, says the lead investigator, but she hopes her research will prompt further studies on the topic.
There is considerable overlap when it comes to fibromyalgia and IBS, says Yuri Saito-Loftus, MD, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic. Many patients experience both conditions together, and both involve pain of some sort.
Previous studies, mostly in animals, have suggested that pregabalin—which is also used to treat seizure disorders and diabetic nerve pain—could decrease visceral hypersensitivity, a sensation of pain within the internal organs that’s common in bowel disorders. So Dr. Saito-Loftus asked Pfizer, the drug’s parent company, to fund a small study to determine whether it may help people with IBS.
“Treatment options for managing abdominal pain—particularly moderate to severe pain—are limited to antispasmodics and neuromodulators such as tricyclic antidepressants,” Dr. Saito-Loftus told Health. “But if patients don’t respond to those agents, there were few proven alternatives.”
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For the study, Dr. Saito-Loftus and her colleagues recruited 85 people with IBS, ages 18 to 70, all of whom reported high levels of abdominal pain. The participants took either pregabalin or a placebo for 12 weeks. Those who took the drug reported improvements in pain management, compared to those who didn’t take it.
Preliminary data also showed improvement in other IBS symptoms, including bloating and diarrhea. (Pfizer provided funds, medication, and placebo pills, but had no direct involvement in the study’s design or implementation.)
Dr. Saito-Loftus cautions that, because the study was so small, the results are not definitive. She also says that—as with any drug—there would be pros and cons to consider if pregabalin were shown to be an effective IBS treatment.
“Neurological side effects such as sleepiness and feeling funny or dizzy are known side effects of pregabalin,” she says. This isn’t surprising, she adds, since the drug is known to target nerve cells.
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Dr. Saito-Loftus presented her research this week at the annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Las Vegas and it has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, a key step for confirming new results. She says she doesn’t have set plans to do a larger study, but will be reaching out to Pfizer to gauge the company’s interest.
At another annual meeting of gastroenterologists held this week—UEG Week in Vienna, Austria—researchers presented other research that may also one day help IBS patients better manage their symptoms. Their study was on a dietary treatment.
A low-FODMAP diet—which involves restricting carbohydrates such as wheat, barley, onions, legumes, and many fruits—has been shown to relieve IBS symptoms in about half of patients who try it. But there is currently know way to know who will respond and who won’t.
Health.com: 7 Natural Remedies for IBS That May Work for You
Now, researchers from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden say that fecal samples of patients who are helped by a low-FODMAP diet have a different bacterial composition than samples of those who aren’t. Testing people, they say, could potentially predict who will benefit.
“Being able to predict if a patient is unlikely to respond to a low-FODMAP diet means that other therapies could be discussed earlier,” said lead investigator and doctoral student Sean Bennet in a press release, “and these patients could be spared a demanding diet that might have no effect on, or even worsen, their symptoms.”
Posted: 24 Oct 2016 10:26 AM PDT
A Georgia teenager who suffered a life-threatening head injury last month while playing soccer awoke from a coma speaking fluent Spanish for the first time in his life.
Rueben Nsemoh, 16, shocked family members and doctors when he opened his eyes after a three-day coma and began uttering sentences in Spanish, despite having known only a few words before his accident.
“It started flowing out,” the teen told TIME on Monday. “I felt like it was like second nature for me. I wasn’t speaking my English right, and every time I tried to speak it I would have a seizure.”
“It was weird,” Rueben added. “It was not scary at all. I actually liked it a lot. It was really unique to me.”
Another teenager accidentally kicked Rueben on the right side of his head during a game on Sept. 24 after Rueben dove for a loose ball, he said.
Rueben, an aspiring professional soccer player, suffered a severe concussion, went into shock and had to be airlifted to a hospital, according to his mother, Dorah Nsemoh.
Days after being treated in the intensive care unit, Rueben finally started stirring again. He began moving his hand and gesturing for food. And then he blurted out: “Tengo hambre,” or “I am hungry” in Spanish.
“I was very shocked. That’s something he’s never done before. When he got up and he started speaking Spanish, I was confused,” said Nsemoh, a 54-year-old high school teacher who is from Nigeria.
Nsemoh then ran out of the room to find help and brought back a nurse. “A nurse asked me what language does he speak. I said, ‘I speak English. He speaks English. We’re not Spanish-based people,’” Nsemoh said.
Doctors have not told the family why Rueben woke up speaking perfect Spanish, although they have sought consultation with a neurologist.
It’s not unprecedented for patients to start speaking a different language or using different accents after a major trauma. In June, a Texas woman made headlines after she had surgery on her lower jaw and then suddenly started speaking with a British accent.
That case was diagnosed as foreign accent syndrome, a very rare condition in which people speak with a different accent, usually after head trauma or stroke, according to CNN. Severe cases of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and concussions can also cause changes in language function, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Rueben says he could recite just a few phrases in Spanish before his accident. The only ways he had heard Spanish were from his brother, who had previously studied in Spain, and his Spanish-speaking teammates.
In the weeks after the accident, Rueben gradually recovered the ability to speak English, and now he speaks both languages fluently, although he says the Spanish has begun to fade.
Doctors say Rueben’s brain scans suggest he will fully heal, but the family has been overwhelmed by mounting medical bills in the $250,000 range, Nsemoh said. A GoFundMe page for Rueben has collected more than $11,000 to go toward the teen’s medical costs.
“Definitely, it’s a miracle,” Nsemoh said. “My son is awake, I don’t care what language he’s speaking. Whatever went on, he’s alive today and I believe 100 percent in recovery.”
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