Archive for September, 2006

The Truth About ENERGY Drinks!

September 29, 2006

69318754.jpgThose working overtime or late nights may resort to the so called Energy Drinks to hopefully boost their energy level and keep them awake.  However recent research has shown otherwise. 

The findings of a rersearch done in Sleep Center in University of Loughborough in UK published in Human Psychopharmacology found that one hour after drinking a high-sugar, low-caffeine drink… ” people had slower reaction times and experienced more lapses in concentration than if they had consumed a caffeine- and sugar-free beverage.”

It was noted that majority of these energy drinks actually contain lots of sugar around 8 teaspoons that can induce sleepiness around 70 minutes after consumption rather than boosting ones energy.  The short “sugar rush” effect also disappears right away within minutes.

My advise is… if you have to use energy drinks… choose one with caffeine in them because it is actually the caffeine that counteracts sleepiness.  But keep in mind that a dose of caffeine large enough to have an energizing effect like the one present in 1 regular soda or cup of coffee can only last for 3 hours… which should be good enough.

Another reason to enjoy coffee while working late!

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How To Prevent Stiff Neck

September 28, 2006

1984754273.jpgThis is the Fourth of Our Series called Healthy Practice Tips:  How To Avoid Having A  Stiff Neck.

The most common cause of stiff neck is bad posture.  And almost always patients complain of this condition upon waking up…suggesting the problem is how our head is positioned during sleep.  The problem with stiff neck is that the discomfort associated with it takes time to go away affecting the way you work and move.  It’s more annoying than scary but a condition that’s very easy to prevent.

Here Are My Tips:

1. “Be sure your pillow doesn’t force your head into an unnatural position while you sleep, resting it either too high or too low.” … as advised by the American Physical Therapy Assocciation.

2.  Look for a pillow that will mold your head when you sleep.  It may be more expensive but worth it!  Some may find feather pillows to be better but what turns me off is the occasional smell that they have. Feather pillows mold to the shape of our head thus lessens that chance of a stiff neck. Definitely this pillow is better than foam.  Specialized pillows though expensive are available in specialized stores and I find them very comfortable because they mold also to the shape of our head.

3. We have a tendency to use too many pillows once they start to flatten… Don’t compensate…instead Replace!

4. Just like back pain , it is always recommended to check your mattress.  A firm mattress with good back support is recommended.

5. Lastly and if possible try to avoid sleeping on your stomach because chances are high that you’ll get a stiff neck if you oversleep in this position.

If you have experiences with preventing stiff neck… please tell us about them….

Simple Measures To Assure A Good Night Sleep! 

Other Posts in the Healthy Practice Tips Series:

  1. How To Choose Your Vitamins
  2. When There’s Lightning, Turn Off Your Cell Phone
  3. Water Or Soap? Or Hand Sanitizer?

Facts You Need To Know Before Undergoing Cosmetic Surgery

September 27, 2006

970719514.jpgThis warning comes in timely because if you read the papers you can see ads of spas or beauty centers offering different cosmetic procedures.  Am also sure you’ve heard stories of horrible outcomes among your peers or even national artists due to so called botched procedures.  It is said that cosmetic procedures that entail incisions or peeling require expertise and if done by someone who’s improperly trained can result in scarring and burning. There are even reports of deaths.

The New England Journal of Medicine reported 5 deaths related to liposuction procedure concluding that tumescent liposuction can be fatal.

But what concerns us most are the pseudo spas that offer medical procedures done by improperly trained personnel and non-physicians performing procedures such as Botox injections, laser hair removal, microdermabrasion and chemical peels.  Reports include loss of pigmentation,improper setting of laser or using untested versions of materials injected into the skin to fill wrinkles.

Guidelines for the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery recommend that a physician should always perform a cosmetic surgical procedure — and should be a dermatologist, rather than a family practitioner or gynecologist.

My advise is to ask these questions before having a procedure done :

1.What procedures are in place in the case of an emergency? Cases of pulmonary embolism or blood clot after liposcution have been reported and this is manifested by shortness of breath. Do they have emergency kits?

2, Inquire about the training of a person who will perform the procedure… where and when? How many procedures have been done because the skill of the surgeon is dependent on the number of procedures done.

3.Are there comlications arising from the procedure… any side effects and how many so far? Do they resolve overtime? 

4. Ask for a before and after photographs of another patient who had a similar procedure.  The clinic should have a collection of these photos to prove their work is done properly.

The best clue is to ask around, your friends and colleagues if results of the procedure done by this clinic has been excellent based on feedback.

Be careful…

Plastic Surgery May Not Turn Out The Way You Perceived It to Be!

The Harmful Effects of Skin Whitening Creams…

September 26, 2006

29856556961.jpgCant help it but overheard 2 ladies in the airport lounge while on the way to Manila for a lecture yesterday talking about how her skin became so white! I thought of asking these ladies to be careful because recently  The Food and Drug Administration proposed a ban on over-the-counter sales of skin-lightening products, saying possible health risks cannot justify their being sold without a prescription.

Yo can see these creams being marketed on TV or radio and at present there are now 135 products being sold as bleaching creams.  What the public is unaware of is that these creams have been linked to possible side effects. Specifically careful with creams that contain a drug called hydroquinone.  This substance is a possible carcinogen that has been researched to cause cancer in rodents as well as linked to a skin-disfiguring condition called ochronosis that results in darkening and thickening of the skin with occasional grayish spots. While the actual risk of the drug is unknown, the US FDA expressed that the products should be restricted to prescription use under medical supervision.

It is to be recalled that in 1990, the FDA also declared another skin-bleaching drug ammoniated mercury as unsafe.

 The NIH website mentions that under the proposed FDA rule, “all skin-bleaching products — prescription and over-the-counter — would be considered new drugs. Manufacturers would have to seek FDA approval to sell them, and only then with a doctor’s note.”

So my friends… who are into vanity and skin whitening regimen…it’s about time for you to take a second look at those creams and reconsider and weigh the risks and benefits you’ll get from using them!

Protect Your Skin From Harm!

Your Faith Can Hasten Your Recovery

September 23, 2006

2012785724.jpgI always tell my patients who have chronic illnesses to look at their illness as a challenge to live and not as a threat to life.

I draw my inspiration to one patient of mine who is a diabetic who suffered from a lung cancer.  She was given 6 months to live by her pulmonologist here in Cebu.  But her faith to live and her trust in God made her through her disease.  She looked at chemotherapy as a way to kill the bad elements in her body, as a result she is excited to go and have chemotherapy sessions because she really wants to live longer.  She just asked God for strength. And her approach to her illness really made a difference and now 10 years after… she still visits me regularly!

And now comes this new research published in NIH website done on 300 subjects from the University of Washington presented in the Annual convention of the American Psychological Association that proved the concept of faith in overcoming an illness is true and can really help people recover from major illnesses including major surgery like a heart bypass.  

It was shown that “positive religious beliefs and resources gave people a sense of hope and social support.”However, faith struggles, religious doubt and resentment against God and other bad stressful thoughts — may hinder recovery. 

One very important note to remember in the study is that the perceived social support and the feeling of more hope for recovery due to their spiritual beliefs resulted in less post-op depression and anxiety.

So don’t lose hope even if you are told of the impossibility because… I strongly believe that having a positive outlook due to your beliefs and your hope to recover  can boost your immune system and your body’s will to fight the disease!

Ones Faith Indeed Can Move Mountains!

Stress Can Shrink Your Brain

September 22, 2006

imagesa.jpgWe may be working overtime lately, we may be doing a lot of things at the same time, we have kids and family problems…they can be work related etc…all contribute to “stress”.  It is inevitable…we cant escape from it but we should know how to handle it!  Especially with this new research that showed that stress can SHRINK your brain and prematurely age your immune system.

Essentially, the study mentioned in the NIH website presented at the 2006 Annual convention of American Psychological Association emphasized that “stress can addle your mind and make you older.” The study involving rats showed that stress causes neuron in the brain to shrink resulting in memory impairment and this may be happening to humans too. 

With stress, our body starts to produce the so called ” stress” hormones like steroid, catecholamines that have been shown to cause some changes in the brain which result in poor memory with less ability to remember and learn.  The same mechanism may be true why stress in one study can affect one’s mood and result in depression.  Likewise the immune system of a stressed individual tend to age faster due to the shortening of the chunks of DNA which make cells work properly.

But there’s a upside to this news according to the researchers: Exercise has been shown to reverse the defect.  And, in the case of the brain at least, “time might heal the wounds caused by stress.”

So what do we need to do: My Threesome Rules Of Stress Relief!

1. Get sufficient sleep most days of the week,

2. Make an effort to be active throughout life, and

3. Have a healthy diet 

My Practical Tip: solve a problem right away once it crops up.  Delaying action on one issue while analyzing another endeavor will contribute to unnecessary stress. So while seeing a patient in my medical clinic, and if a problem crops up in my research clinic… I pause first, excuse myself from my patient and settle the research problem.  In so doing I am now free to listen and deal with the problems of my patient! And I tell you…it works to lessen the stress! Again it’s how you handle the stress!

Take Good Care of Your Brain…Beat The Stress!

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How To Get The Vitamins By Eating The Right FOOD

September 21, 2006

1252098707.jpgIf you eat a proper balanced diet, there’s really no need to take any vitamins because these nutrients are present in most foods that we eat. We already know that fruits and vegetables are considered essential servings to our daily meal plan.  Now a large study has confrimed that most nutrients that we need can be taken in by eating these vegetables.

People who consume plenty of salads, or raw vegetables like carrots, cauliflower are more likely to take in sufficient amounts of the recommended daily allowance of vitamins that is 15% higher than those who dont eat vegetables.  Likwise vegetable eaters were more likely to meet the daily requirement for Vitamin C. 

The study published in The September issue of The American Dietetic Association Journal found that even one serving of raw vegetables a day is sufficient to getting the recommended amounts of vitamins A, E, B6 and folic acid. Meaning the more raw vegetables you take in, better levels of the vitamins C and E, folic acid and several carotenoids will be seen in your blood.

One important point to remember though is that Water-soluble vitamins, like vitamin C and many B vitamins, are heat-sensitive, and therefore it’s better to get them through eating raw vegetables.   But antioxidants: carotenoids, tend to be better absorbed if vegetables are cooked.

How many of us take salads before the main meal?  Now we know we’re doing the right thing in keeping ourselves fit and healthy!

Take Your Greens…Your Passport To  a Healthy Living!

Tai Chi For Better Mobility and Balance

September 20, 2006

2374902333.jpgOsteoporotic fractures are prevalent among our elderly diabetic patients. This is mainly attributed to a low trauma event due to loss of balance preceding the fracture. This can be explained also by the impaired mobility among older adults due to their low muscle power which results from their inability to contract their muscles quickly.

In a study of older obese adults with type 2 diabetes published in the Septemeber issue of the Diabetes Care, showed that older obese type 2 diabetics can benefit from low-intensity, low-impact Tai Chi exercises as well as from regular stretching and calisthenics.

This study involved 38 men and women with type 2 diabetes aged 65 were randomly assigned to Tai Chi exercises or seated calisthenics and stretching which included a 55-minute exercise sessions twice a week for 16 weeks.

The Findings at the end of the study period:

1.Participants in both exercise groups whether Tai Chi or calisthenics had improvements in their balance and walking speed.

2, Patients who participated in Tai Chi exercises also showed improved mobility.

3. The improvement in balance was most noted among those with poorer quality of life at the start of the study.

4.Those participants who had better health, muscle function and exercise capacity at the start of the study, had improvement in walking speeds by the end of the study.

Likewise, what I found significant in the study was the finding that:  it is very important for patients to have good sugar control since lower levels of blood glucose and less body fat at the start of the study were factors associated with improved walking speeds over time.

There you go…we will get definitely grow old but now we know that over time, increase physical acitivity and its effects can have lasting impact in our quality of life.

Better Mobility: Another Reason To

Take Care of Your Sugar and Exercise!

Lessons Learned While in Copenhagen

September 19, 2006

Just came back from the convention in Denmark where a lot of good things came p9140651.JPGout especialy regarding prevention of diabetes and its progression (aside from the sightseeing tour we had…like this little mermaid of Hans Christian Anderson’s famous tale). We all know about lifestyle changes as the best way to prevent the diseases but now an early mild form of abnormality in blood sugar has been shown to be prevented from progressing to a more serious form using medication.  The so called DREAM study was one highlight in the convention and the result of which will definitely have an impact on how we approach and treat mild forms of diabetes.

I believe Copenhagen was the best place to have this study presented because this is a place that is inhabited by beautiful people that  are physically fit. They go to work using their bikes. p9160713.JPGThey have their own bike lanes and parking area.  Likewise, Copenhagen as a city also is small enough that everything can be reached by foot or by bicycle. As a result seldom do I see obese individuals. This place tells us that being physically mobile can mean economic savings: no need to buy cars and gasoline, and by being physically healthy therefore results in less risk to suffer from diabetes and lifestyle diseases.

p9140639.JPGI believe the concept of biking as a means of transportation is feasible in our city. This will result in less polution and therefore less respiratory diseases like asthma, more benefits can be derived from this policy and a very good way to help curb obesity that is now prevalent in our region.  Look at how the Danish people are already dressed for work and using their bikes to get them to places of work.

Few days in Copenhagen have been very fruitful…learned new things both scientifically and learned best by observing how the people live and practice their way of life.

You Learn Best by Traveling!

The Benefit of Drinking Fruit and Vegetable Juice

September 13, 2006

fruit-juice.jpgI am on my way to Copenhagen, Denmark for the annual convention of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes till the 18th of this month… and for this reason I may not be able to update my blog daily for the next few days.  But let me share with you this new data which I thought of sharing because while waiting in the lounge, I realized that my colleagues were drinking diet coke while I opted for a freshly squeezed orange juice.  I am a diet coke drinker but now I’m giving juices a second look.

Just yesterday while scanning through the different articles that would interest me…I came across this new data published in the September issue of the American Journal of Medicine that has somehow changed the way I look at juices. This involved at participants who drank fruit or vegetable juices for the 10 year period and determined the incidence of dementia among those who drank and those who did not.  This involved 1800 subjects and their mental function were tested every 2 years.

The results are great news for fruit and vegetable juice drinkers:

  1. The incidence of Alzheimer’s was 76 percent lower for those who drank juice three or more times a week than for those who drank juice less than once a week.
  2. Dementia was 16 percent lower for those drinking juice once or twice a week

It is theorized that the benefit is due to a strong antioxidant present in both fruit and vegetables called polyphenols which is present in the outer skin or the peel. So when you process the whole fruit or vegetable, these substances are incorporated into the juice. It is believed that the polyphenols may prevent the deposition of proteins in the brain that can lead to Alzheimer’s.

The authors however concluded that more research need to be done whether there is a specific juice that has more beneficial effect than others. 

I like the way the authors summed up their data that if you like to drink juice, there’s another reason why you should BUT not to the point of saying: ‘If I drink orange juice in the morning, I don’t have to do anything else. ”

A Juice a Day May Keep You Healthy All The Way!

How To Choose Your Vitamins

September 12, 2006

imagesxc.jpgThird of Our Series: Healthy Practice Tips

In general if a person is healthy enough to be able to take a balance nutrition, there’s really no need for vitamins.  But ask any of my patients …and majority will tell you they take either 1 or 2 vitamins just to feel good. But any pill is an additional intake of drugs for the body to metabolize. 

In medical practice we are taught that not anybody should take a vitamin… but again almost anyone you know does! 

So who really needs dietary multivitamins?

  • Those that cant receive all of the nutrients they need from their diet because they either can’t or don’t eat enough due to an illness.
  • Those who can’t or don’t eat a variety of healthy foods due to habit or not used to like eating veggies.
  • Those on specific diets due to stomach disease or other diseases involving the intestine or digestion.
  • Pregnant women who require additional nutrients and
  • Older adults who have altered nutrient needs or poor dentition. 

Tip on How To Choose The Vitamins We Need?

  • Check The Content. There should be a label that tells you the serving size and the nutrients they contain.
  • Avoid ‘megadoses’ I recommend that you choose a multivitamin that provides about 100 percent of the Daily Value (DV)of all the vitamins and minerals.  Avoid pills that give too much of the DV for one vitamin and too little of the DV for another.
  • Make Sure Of The Quality. Check the USP label in the bottle because “this ensures that the supplement meets the standards for strength, purity, disintegration and dissolution established by the testing organization U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP).”
  • Avoid Marketing Strategies like” Natural”. There is no such thing as the source being “natural” and if this word is in the bottle it costs more! The same goes to added herbs and other stuff likely to attract buyers without any additional benefit!  Likewise as I’ve said before…the additional herbs may interact with other meds you’re taking.
  • Are They Expiring? Because they lose their quality and efficacy over time.

And the most important tip of all is to store all meds properly .  It should be a dry and cool place to prevent losing potency.

So if you really like buying vitamins…might as well do it properly by following my tips!

A Toast To Those Who Practice The Healthy Way!

Read My Other Healthy Practice Tips Series:

  1. Water or Soap? or Hand Sanitizer?

  2. When There’s Lightning, Turn Off Your Cell Phone 

Related Article:     Where Do You Keep Your Drugs?

Air Fresheners and Your Lung May be A Bad Combination

September 11, 2006

23863564961.jpgAir fresheners are a commonplace in our cars. Unknowingly we may be damaging our lungs in the process.  What this new research has found is that the same chemical compounds that are used in air fresheners can also be found in toilet bowl cleaners as well as mothballs.

The study done by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), a part of the National Institutes of Health, published in the August issue of Environmental Health Perspectives showed that this compound called 1,4 dichlorobenzene (1,4 DCB) can cause modest reductions in lung function.

The Findings included:

1.  Of the different compounds emitted as gases, only the compound 1,4 DCB was associated with reduced pulmonary function.  This compound is the one used in most of our household products inlcuding room deodorizers, urinal and toilet bowl blocks, and as an insecticide fumigant for moth control.

2. A 4 percent decrease in the test which measures forced expiratory volume in 1(FEV1) second between the highest and lowest levels of exposure. FEV1 is a pulmonary function test that is a commonly used index for assessing airway function and obstruction.

This research data suggest that 1,4-DCB may exacerbate respiratory diseases.  As such, a decline in lung function no matter how small may be a big factor among patients especially our children who already have allergic cough or asthma. Chronic exposure of this substance can definitely result in harmful effect to their lungs.

Therefore, if you plan to stay indoor for the day…make sure you avoid any deodorizing agents in cleaning your house.  And if you do…be somewhere else at that time.  Likewise, if you ride the car with the kids with the air-conditioner on, throw away the air freshener…

Protect Your Lungs…Anyway Fresh Air Is Better!

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When There’s Lightning, Turn Off Your Cell Phone

September 9, 2006

images122.jpgWe’re into the rainy season… we get thunderstorms and lightning then we get the flooded streets. While in the traffic because of the congested road, we use the cell phones to pass the time. But you’re in actual danger of being hit by lightning if it strikes.

The June issue of the British Medical Journal reported a case of a  15-year-old girl struck by lightning while using her cell phone in a London park last year. The girl survived, but is now considered disabled suffering from not only physical injury but traumatic emotional problems.  She is presently confined to a wheelchair, has lost some hearing in the ear she was holding the phone to and can’t recall the moment she was hit by lightning because she had cardiac arrest then. 

The journal reports that ” this phenomenon is a public health issue, and education is necessary to highlight the risk of using mobile phones outdoors during stormy weather to prevent future fatal consequences from lightning-strike injuries related to mobile phones.

It is important to note that according to the National Weather Service statistics: around 400 people are struck and approximately 67 are killed each year by lightning.  This number actually is more than deaths caused by hurricanes or tornadoes. What is significant is the life long disability that results after one is hit by lightning.

It is theorized in the report that normally: ” the high resistance of human skin means that if lightning strikes, it is conducted over the skin without entering the body, resulting in a low death-rate phenomenon known as “flashover.” But conductive materials such as liquids or metallic objects — i.e. cell phones — disrupt the flashover and result in internal injury with greater death rates”.

For Our Healthy Practice Tips Series 2: Here are some accepted guidelines in the use of appliances during bad weather:

  • Do not use metallic objects like cordless or mobile phones during a thunderstorm.
  • Don’t use a land-line telephone. Lightning can come through the telephone line and hit you.
  • Avoid electrical appliances such as washing machines or dishwashers or take a shower because lightning can travel through water pipes.

These guidelines are there for us to consider and follow.  Even if the jury is still out on whether mobile phones are really a hazard for use during bad weather is still being refuted by some… arguing that the metal content of mobile phones is so small to be a factor… but rather… being hit by lightning is a matter of being in a wrong place at a wrong time.

For now, it is still prudent that the next time you are stuck in traffic because of the rain… before you answer your mobile phone… Just make sure

Don’t Use Your Phone When Lightning Strikes!  

Tired Of Your Low Back Pain? Try The Acupuncture!

September 8, 2006

imagesqwe.jpgChronic Back Pain is considered one of the frequent reasons for doctor’s visits. The word chronic in itself tells us that majority of these complaints remain as back pains for a long time with transient relief of symptoms in between.  This is one setting in our medical practice where patients then resort to alternative medicine.

One of these alternative routes of therapy is acupuncture.  Before I left the Mayo Clinic after my fellowship, the center was setting up an Acupuncture Unit for research into this ancient Chinese way of treating diseases.  The mere fact there’s an interest in doing studies means there’s truth to the curative aspects of acupuncture that needs to be studied thoroughly to be accepted in the Western world.

imagesdfghj1.jpgNow comes the largest study to date of acupuncture for chronic low back pain published in the Sept 1 issue of American Journal of Epidemiology.The study looked at whether acupuncture can ease the pain, and improve back function and involved around 11,630 patients with chronic low back pain. Patients received up to 15 treatments over a three-month period, and were followed for an additional three months.

The Findings seem promising:

1. Accupunctrue treated patients showed significantly better back function: 52.6 percent responded to treatment while

2. Non acupuncture treated patients: only 26.8 percent responded to treatment.

3. Those who initially did not receive acupuncture then later were given the treatment had similar equal response in terms of relief of pain.

4. The relief of pain persisted up to 6 months after acupuncture treatment.

A safe alternative approach to back pain especially if conventional forms of therapy have so far not offered any relief.  Finding a good practitioner however can be a challenge! But if you find one.. I would say… Go for it!

Acupuncture May Be Worth It…For The Pain!

The Warning Signs That Could Save Your Life!

September 7, 2006

34767223.jpgThe latest issue of Circulation, a Journal of the American Heart Association had this interesting article on symptoms which should not be taken for granted.  These symptoms actually occur among patients prior to their Sudden Cardiac Death!  This study interests me because a close friend of the family apparently died of sudden cardiac death… but this new study refutes the notion that Sudden Cardiac death is actually not sudden after all!

The study involved analyzing data surrounding the circumstances among 400 patients who suffered sudden cardiac arrest. They looked at what were the symptoms preceeding the apparent death.

These are the symptoms that should warrant immediate attention…meaning if you have them, seek medical help!

  1. 22 percent of patients had experienced angina (chest pain) for 120 minutes.
  2. Dyspnea (difficulty breathing) was present in 15 percent of patients for 30 minutes
  3. Nausea or vomiting in 7 percent for 120 minutes
  4. Dizziness or fainting in 5 percent for 10 minutes

There are however 25 percent of the patients with no warning symptoms at all. The investigators likewise noted that in 90 percent of cases, symptoms lasted for at least 5 minutes and longer before the patient collapsed.

Apparently the authors concluded that “These symptoms are misinterpreted, suppressed, or denied despite the presence of a preexisting cardiac disease or cardiac risk factors”.

It is very important that the above symptoms should be addressed immediately especially if you have a history of heart disease and other risk factors, such as diabetes, smoking, and chronic lung disease.  These are the associated conditions in more than half of the patients studied.

A mere chest pain may already be a red flag for a worst scenario.  Likewise if you have risk factors… persistent nausea and vomiting may herald the onset of an impending heart attack!

It’s Better To Be Cautious Than Be Sorry!

The Social Impact of Wanting A Baby Boy

September 6, 2006

imagesdfghhj.jpgChinese tradition calls it that the first born be a boy…. however recent studies have shown that cultures that favour male babies may result in a surplus of men. It is theorized that once this happens these men will struggle to find sexual partners and could find themselves marginalised in society based on t he findings of a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by the University College London.

The social impact is intriguing and let me quote what the paper emphasized as the possible implication of this practice:

“As more men discover their lack of marriage prospects, this could lead to antisocial behaviour, violence and possibly more opportunities for organised crime and terrorism, threatening the stability and security of many societies.”

Likewise as quoted from Dr Therese Hesketh, of the UCL Institute of Child Health:

“The ratio of men to women in most populations is remarkably constant if left untouched. The tradition of son preference, however, has distorted these natural sex ratios in large parts of Asia and North Africa. Sex-selective abortion and discrimination in care practices for girls have led to higher female mortality. Although health care for women is generally improving, these advances have been offset by a huge increase in the use of sex-selective abortion, and there are now an estimated 80 million missing females in India and China alone.”

Over the next 20 years, in parts of China and India there will be a 12 to 15 per cent excess of young men. These men will remain single and will be unable to have families, in societies where marriage is regarded as virtually universal and social status and acceptance depend, in large part, on being married and creating a new family.”

“This trend could lead to increased levels of antisocial behaviour and violence, as gender is a well-established correlate of crime, and especially violent crime. Gender-related violent crime is consistent across cultures. Furthermore, when single young men congregate, the potential for more organised aggression is likely to increase substantially, and this has worrying implications for organised crime and terrorism.”

The above scenario is pretty worrisome indeed.  But apparently certain measures with regard to sex preference have been made in terms of educating the public with some progress. In a recent national survey, 37 per cent of Chinese women surveyed claimed to have no gender preference, and 45 per cent said the ideal family consisted of one boy and one girl. Almost equal numbers of the women expressed a preference for one girl as for one boy.

So there you go… to the newly married…No sex preference please….

Just for fun…let me do a quick survey… of  my friends and readers who are getting married or are going to have a baby… How many would prefer having a baby boy versus a baby girl?

A Baby Boy? Dream for A Healthy Baby Instead!

Tips To Protect Yourself From CANCER

September 5, 2006

2242426591.jpgProtecting oneself from developing cancer is not a difficult task to do..but actually consist of simple measures that require precaution! Guidelines are provided by the American Cancer Society which are well thought of and very simple… but in general it’s really up to us to know them well and to follow the rules. 

Here are some Tips that I recommend to every patient of mine based on years of accumulated evidence proven to reduce ones risk to develop cancer:

1.Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death! Even with this data, you can still see smokers in our midst. Common sense tells us: Quit Smoking!

2. About 500,000 deaths from cancer is due to poor nutrition, inactivity and obesity! Excess calories have been shown to cause mutations of genes that lead to cancer of the colon and prostate. Common sense tells us: Be Fit and Move!

3. Screening for these cancers are routinely done if asked for. The earlier majority of the cancers are caught the more likely they are treatable! Common sense tells us: Have a routine examination yearly.

4. Routine examination of ones body for growing moles or lumps in the breast should prompt one to seek medical attention. Melanoma for example can be diagnosed early by routine body check. Common sense tells us: 15 minutes of sun exposure is needed to increase vitamin D level in the blood but expose yourself to the sun during the safest hours…before 10 AM or after 4 PM!

5. Eat healthy with plenty of fruits and vegetables: One study in Scotland showed a 40% reduction in risk of developing cancer. Simple guideline is 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

6. Get enough sleep and rest! A Stanford University study showed a good sleep pattern can reduce the risk to develop cancer. 

They are not difficult tasks to do but again people are just refusing to follow the simple rules of preventive medicine.  We may not be able to prevent cancer but we can really reduce our risk from getting them by doing the right thing with the right attitude!

Prevention Is Still Better Than Cure!

Related Posts:

How NOT To Feel Guilty After Eating A Steak!

September 4, 2006

3014009680.jpgOn certain occasions, I go out for dinner and invite friends or get invited by friends and we usually get together and eat at the finest restaurants in Cebu where steak is the specialty and really yummy! Sometimes I can’t control the urge that instead of a sea bass, my taste buds request a steak!

Let me share with you a tip on how I make myself less guilty after a steak!

Every afternoon, I make sure I sweat it out… either doing household work or exercise by walking.  As i’ve pointed out in my previous post, I trained myself to follow a strict regimen of daily activity. Such that… if there is a scheduled dinner in a steakhouse…out I go and start my physical activity earlier to make sure I can enjoy my meal feeling less guilty!

Now comeS the evidence that my regimen really workS….

A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed the bad effect of a high fat meal on the arteries which fail to expand up to 4 hours after a meal. This is a setup for heart disease. But with exercise, the bad effect of a high fat meal can be reversed!

The study involved subjects to exercise on a treadmill for 45 minutes 2 hours after they ate a high fat meal. Blood flow was measured, which increases if the blood vessels expand or if blood flow decreases due to non expansion of the arteries. The findings revealed… that Exercise indeed can reverse the effect of a high fat meal by improving the blood flow to the arteries and thereby reducing its bad effect in initiating heart disease!

There you go… another benefit of exercise. 

CAUTION: This does not encourage you to take high fat meals… but if you do because of a family gathering or a meeting, allow yourself to indulge once in a while but make sure…

You Are Active Enough To Enjoy Your Steak and Dessert and Still Feel Guilt Free!

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Water and Soap? OR Hand Sanitizer?

September 2, 2006

886178993.jpgThe skin is the largest organ of the body.  But is also the largest carrier of bacteria. As often as it is advised… we seldom follow the simple rules of handwashing to prevent diseases. After a cough or a sneeze, the bacteria and viruses can hang around ones hands for long enough to spread from one person to another until the whole family gets the colds.

Even doctors are guilty of not washing their hands… only 50 to 60 % of physicians wash hands after handling a patient. I usually have an alcohol gel sanitizer beside me which I use every after I examine a patient. It’s a medical practice and habit that I inherited during my training at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesotta. Again its the practice and habit of doing things the right way that counts.

But How Effective is Handwashing? Does It Really Work?

  • 30 seconds with soap & water removes 58% of bacteria
  • Alcohol based handrubs: removes 83% of bacteria

742896925.jpgThe Best Healthy Practice of Handwashing is to wet both hands with water then apply soap…rub both hands together briskly for 15 seconds before rinsing! Handrubbing which is practiced more in hospitals however has been shown to remove more bacteria than handwashing.

For your convenience when working… I recommend using alcohol based gel for cleaning your hands. However handwashing remains the least expensive and still an effective method of keeping yourself clean. 

This will be the first of a series of Healthy Practice Tips that I’ll be writing. As simple as handwashing but more often being neglected by the many of us!

Keep CLEAN… Practice The Proper Handwashing!

Working Overtime Again?… Better Check Your Blood Pressure

September 1, 2006

9084256.jpgStress indeed is the number 1 culprit in terms of its bad effects on ones health.  Stress comes in a variety of ways and can result in myriad of symptoms.

Working long hours has now been shown to be one form of stress that can affect ones health. A balance of time at work and time for relaxation is key to preserving ones health.

A new study published in the September Issue of  Hypertension looked at the relationship between working long hours and high blood pressure. The study invloved 55,000 household members in a 2001 survey done in California.

The study revealed interesting facts:

Working 40 hours a week resulted in a 14% higher risk to develop high BP than working less than 20 hours

Working more than 40 hours increased that risk to 17%

Working more than 50 hours increased the risk to 29%

Clerical workers were 23% and unskilled workers 50% more likely to suffer from high BP than professionals

Challenging and Mentally stimulating jobs however tend to protect subjects from developing hypertension.

The above findings should have practical implications on the way we work. Long hours now counts as one risk factor for hypertension aside from common lifestyle bad behaviours like smoking and improper diet. If hypertension is not corrected, this will lead to strokes and heart attacks which can result in disability. If we can reduce that risk of developing hypertension and subsequently heart disease and stroke thru lifestyle changes including the way we work… the better!

With this in mind… Some Practical Lessons to Learn:

  1. If you are an employer… take care of your business by making sure your workers are healthy… teach them to be efficient so they can avoid working overtime.
  2. If you are a workaholic…think again… remember health is wealth! Working too late may not be productive after all! Take time to relax and instead work overtime in preserving your health.

Remember… What’s the use of earning extra bucks if you’ll spend them all to buy medications to treat your high blood pressure…and later for your heart disease due to uncontrolled stress and BP….

Better Think Twice Before You Work Overtime AGAIN….

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