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Potential Dangers with Some Cold Remedies

Combination of phenyleprine and acetamenophen could be risky.

Common OTC cold medications that include acetaminophen (Tylenol) may expose patients to dangerous phyenylephrine levels. These include medicines such as Tylenol Cold and Flu and DayQuil. When healthy volunteers took phenylephrine (10 mg) combined with acetaminophen (1000 mg) the blood concentration of phenylephrine was 2 times higher than when taking phenylephrine alone. Potential adverse effects include high blood pressure, elevated heart rate, and nervousness.

PositiveTip: Exercise caution in using even OTC cold remedies. Saline nasal rinses or simple hydrotherapy procedures may give the same relief.

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Did Preschool Obesity Really Drop that Much?

Drop in preschool obesity may have been too good to be true.

Last February the media widely reported a 43% drop in obesity among U.S. preschoolers. These reports were based on CDC data showing obesity prevalence dropped from 14% in 2003-2004 to 8% in 2010-2012. The sample size was a very small 900, yet the CDC press release highlighted this big change. Even the study authors cautioned these results should be "interpreted with caution." Unfortunately, childhood obesity is still a major problem.

PositiveTip: Influence the children in your life to value healthy choices.

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They Go in Easier Than They Come Out!

Swallowing incidents of supermagnets are on the rise.

Kids have always swallowed objects not intended for ingestion! As long as the object was small, smooth, and harmless the standard physician response has been, "This too will pass." Supermagnets have changed these rules. Neodymium magnets attract each other with formidable force. One magnet may indeed be easily passed, two or more can bind across the bowel wall causing bowel ulceration, perforation, and peritonitis. Without prompt care death can result.

PositiveTip: Watch this educational video and share it with your friends. It could save a life!

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Distracted Parenting!

Parents screen time should be limited when their children are around!

Caregivers of children (ages 0-10) were observed in fast-food restaurants typing and swiping on mobile devices--and spending less time paying attention to the child or children in their care. They also often reacted harshly to misbehavior or bids for attention. A surprising 40 of the 55 caregivers observed were engaged with a mobile device rather than the child.

PositiveTip: When taking care of children, give them your full attention, not your mobile device!

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Why Low Fat Diets Seldom Prevent Heart Attacks

A whole diet approach is most effective in reducing cardiovascular disease

While low fat diets can reduce cholesterol, they're less effective in reducing heart attack risk. New meta analysis of diet and heart disease research from the past 50 years reveals it takes a diet overhaul. Changing the whole diet to something like the Mediterranean diet (lots of fruit and veggies, legumes, and whole grains) has much greater success in reducing heart disease.

PositiveTip: If you're serious about a healthy heart, get serious about your whole diet.

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Occasional Binge Drinking Raises Death Rates

Occasional binge drinking appears to erase any benefits seen from moderate drinking.

We hear lots about the so-called benefits of moderate drinking. Yet most studies have not taken into account different patterns of drinking. Researchers found in a 20 year study that even occasional binge drinking among older moderate drinkers resulted in significantly earlier death and erases any health benefit associated with moderate drinking. Binge drinking is often a part of real life moderate drinking and may be a slippery slope for many.

PositiveTip: Alcohol carries too many hidden pitfalls. Avoid it altogether!

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Second Hand Smoke and Pregnancy

Even if you never smoke, second hand smoke increases risks of miscarriage or stillbirth.

New research looking at 81,000 women confirms the risks of second hand smoke for pregnant women. The study's large size and comprehensive approach helped demonstrate that non-smoking women with the highest level of second hand smoke exposure (10+ years in childhood or 20+ years in adulthood) were at a risk of miscarriage, stillbirth or tubal ectopic pregnancy that approached those who were smokers.

PositiveTip: For the health of yourself and your baby limit your exposure to second hand smoke.

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Quitting Smoking Improves Mental Health

Depression and anxiety improves with smoking cessation.

A widely held belief among smokers is that the habit relieves psychological symptoms. However, a new meta-analysis of 26 prospective international studies challenges this assumption. After a median follow-up of 6-12 months, smoking cessation significantly decreased anxiety, depression, and stress while increasing psychological quality of life, compared with continued smoking. Cessation of smoking resulted in an effect similar to drug therapy for depression in the general population.

PositiveTip: Quitting smoking improves anxiety and depression--as well as physical health!

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Age of First Cigarette Alters Risk of Regular Smoking

The younger the first exposure, the higher the risk for regular smoking.

Evidence from the U.S. Youth Behavior Risk Survey 2011 suggests strategies to delay the onset of cigarette smoking in teens is an important step in preventing progression from experimentation to regular use. The earlier a child initiates smoking, the higher risk of regular smoking (1.27 times increased risk for each earlier year) regardless of sex or ethnicity.

PositiveTip: Do all you can to discourage kids from trying even one cigarette!

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Lifestyle Changes Alter Gene Expression

Lifestyle changes make a difference and need to be maintained for maximum benefit.

Patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD) or at high risk for developing CVD were placed on a year-long very low-fat vegetarian diet, 180 minutes/week of moderate aerobic exercise, one hour of stress management daily, and weekly group support. Hypertension, dyslipidemia and obesity all dropped compared to the controls. Researchers identified 143 genes that showed significant change in their expression, mostly downregulated resulting in lower vascular inflammation. 

PositiveTip: Healthy lifestyle changes seem to induce positive changes at the molecular level--stick with them!