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HealthyChoices

Why You Should Read with Your Kids

The web site EarlyMoments.com has posted an excellent description of why reading to children is so valuable. We all know reading to our kids is a good thing, but are you familiar with the specific advantages your toddler or preschool-age child can receive by being exposed to reading? Here are some benefits that highlight the importance of reading to your child between the ages of two and five.

Doc, Do I Need an Antibiotic?

 

“Doc, don’t I need antibiotics?” is a frequent question heard by many physicians. Some of the most common problems – like colds, sinus infections, urinary tract infections, bronchitis – cause many patients to miss work and feel miserable. The patients assume that they should be taking an antibiotic. What they don’t know is that an antibiotic may be exactly the wrong thing to be taking – for several reasons.

Reason #1: Misuse – Most common infections, including those listed above, are caused by a virus and NOT by bacteria. Antibiotics will not kill viruses. Antibiotics will not make you feel better and will not get you back to work faster. Do not ask for antibiotics if the doctor says you have a virus. If you want to be sure, ask the doctor for a culture.

Exposure to Violence Damages the Genetic Code in Children

Chromosomes are composed of DNA. They carry your genetic code and are located in the nucleus of every cell in the body. As cells divide to form new cells, an exact copy of each chromosome is placed in the nucleus of the daughter cell. The integrity of the genetic code in chromosomes is preserved by a protective cap of DNA called a telomere that covers the tips of chromosomes inside each cell. 

Every time a cell divides, the telomeres get a little bit shorter. After about 50 to 60 cell divisions, the telomeres disappear completely and cells are programmed to die. People who have shortened telomeres are more susceptible to disease and premature death. Telomere length is a useful gauge of biological age.

A Re-Evaluation

"Hello, Susan. Come in and sit down. I've been expecting you." Dr. Robbins came from behind his desk, motioning to a leather arm chair.

"Good afternoon, Dr. Robbins," Susan responded."Yes, mother's heart attack got my attention." She perched on the edge of the chair, tightly clutching her purse.

"I suspect it did," he mused aloud, leaning against the edge of his desk. "But we already had a conversation about her condition at the hospital, so I suspect that this visit isn't about her."

"No, it's not." Susan looked up at him. "It's about me. What are my chances of having the same thing? You know that my father died of congestive heart failure just two years ago. He was only seventy."

"Yes, I remember."

"He wasn't that old. Seventy isn't that old," she hurried on, "and mother is only sixty-eight. What's wrong with us?"

Reversing Heart Disease - Is It Possible?

“Men will run to and fro and knowledge will increase.” Thirty years ago in medical school we were taught that one-half the knowledge we learned would turn out to be incorrect. No one knew which half. We would be required to continue learning and discover that for ourselves.

Thirty years ago we were taught that heart disease could not be reversed. Once the blood vessels of the heart were clogged, there was no way to reverse the damage. This bit of dogma turned out to be one of the parts that was wrong.

There are currently two publicly presented life style change programs that are designed to reverse coronary artery disease.

The Price Is Right!

"And all of these prizes can be yours – if the Price is Right!”

This is the tag line on the popular game show, hosted by Drew Carey, in which contestants win prizes by guessing the correct prices of various products. The show was hosted by the unaging Bob Barker for decades until just the last eighteen months when Drew Carey, a popular TV personality, was asked to take over.

Everyone knew that Drew Carey was a 250+ pound stand-up comic and former marine with a ubiquitous smile and a weight problem. What everyone didn’t know was that all of Drew’s male family members had the same weight problem and rampant heart disease. His father died in his 40’s of a heart attack. His older brother, Neal, died at age 64, of a heart attack in July of this year. Suddenly Drew got the picture.

The Strength of Evidence

Most of us love the taste of chocolates! 

In recent months we have been reading headlines that indicate chocolate may help prevent various diseases, and most recently, lower weight. To many this seems like a dream come true! Could it be that something as high in calories, fat, and sugar could really be good for us?

True, the cacao bean is from the vegetable kingdom. It naturally has a number of phytochemicals, flavonoids, and antioxidants--each of which has the potential of benefit when consumed by humans. There are also minerals, vitamins, protein and other nutrients in chocolate. But do all these things really make it a healthful food?

Know Your Risks

What disease condition is your greatest risk for disability or death? Is it heart disease? Cancer? Stroke? Pneumonia? Not surprisingly, it isn’t the same for everyone.

There are many kinds of risks. People in third world countries are most at risk from infectious disease (think – malaria or AIDS) or violence and starvation (if there is armed conflict – think Somalia or Sudan). First world countries are most at risk from lifestyle choices in diet, exercise, and smoking (think USA or Argentina). Cultural disease risks involve genetic predispositions (think Tay-Sachs disease in Jews; Sickle cell disease in blacks) and specific habit patterns (think salted fish and stomach cancer in Japanese). Socio-economic differences determine affordability of preventive healthcare (think obstetrical care for unwed teenage pregnancies) and life patterns (think coal miners and black lung).

Adolescent Obesity

Obesity is clearly a problem that has huge implications not only on the present health of those affected, but on their future health as well. Many researchers have examined the basis of this problem and how to correct it.

With a prevalence approaching 20% in the United States, adolescent obesity has become a common problem for patients, parents, and clinicians. Obese adolescents may experience physical and psychosocial complications.