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Heat Maps Illustrate Vaccine Benefit

Do vaccines save lives?

Discredited ex-physician, Andrew Wakefield's film "Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe" has been pulled from the Tribeca Film Festival. Despite a few loud, fierce voices claiming vaccines are dangerous, the overwhelming evidence indicates the world is a much safer place because of their benefits. Can vaccines cause side effects? Of course, but when they do they tend to resolve quickly with appropriate medical care.

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Large Study Shows No Net Benefit from Alcohol

New study finds no overall benefit from alcohol consumption.

Alcohol is the third most important modifiable risk factor for death and disability. It is linked with more than 60 health disorders. A study of over 114,000 adults from 12 countries found no net benefit from the use of alcohol when cancer, heart disease, injury and overall death rates were considered. This study examined a range of income levels, also. 

PositiveTip: If you don't use alcohol you should not start; if you do drink, evidence is growing stronger that you should quit now!

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Moderate Exercise Yields Big Time Benefits

Just 6 miles of slow running per week yielded huge benefits.

Healthy, low-risk people derive tremendous benefits from moderate physical activity. A study of 13,000 runners found those in the lowest quintile (fewer than 6 miles or less than 52 minutes per week) experienced the greatest reductions in total mortality (30% less) and cardiovascular mortality (45% less). It did not have to be fast: a few miles at a moderate to slow pace yielded maximal benefits!

PositiveTip: The best exercise is the one you will do regularly! Just do something: walking, moderate running, swimming.

Benefits of Social Media Use by Youngsters

A recent report from the journal Pediatrics discussed the benefits and risks of youngsters using social media: 

Middle and high school students are using social media to connect with one another on homework and group projects. For example, Facebook and similar social media programs allow students to gather outside of class to collaborate and exchange ideas about assignments. Some schools successfully use blogs as teaching tools, which has the benefit of reinforcing skills in English, written expression, and creativity.

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Even Modest Weight Loss Yields Significant Benefits

Overly ambitious weight loss goals may hinder the benefits of modest weight losses.

Modest weight loss, even without getting down to the ideal weight, will result in health benefits for those who maintain that loss! The Diabetes Prevention Program demonstrated that losing just 5-7 percent (10-14 pounds for a person who weighs 200 pounds) will lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of diabetes, and improve blood sugar and insulin levels in those who have diabetes. Double that weight loss and the HDL ("good") cholesterol increases, lowering the risk of heart disease, too.

PositiveTip: Make a few critical lifestyle changes to reach and maintain a modest weight loss. It will make a significant difference in your life!

To Drink or Not to Drink? - 3

In the last couple of posts we have been exploring the issue of moderate drinking. Is it really all it is cracked up to be? Alcohol certainly takes a huge toll on society. The case for moderate drinking has a large number of studies to support its benefits, too. Are there alternative explanations? Certainly!

Last month I had the opportunity to attend the Global Health and Lifestyle Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. One of the speakers I heard was David Williams, PhD, MPH who is a Harvard University professor. He postulated several very interesting alternative explanations for alcohol's purported benefits.

To Drink or Not to Drink? - 2

Last week we looked at a summary of the impact of alcohol on society, families and individual health. The data is sobering, indeed. Why then do we hear so much about the health benefits of moderate alcohol use?

In the scientific literature there is overwhelming evidence from prospective, observational studies that individuals who drink 1-2 drinks per day have a lower rate of cardiovascular mortality than heavy drinkers and non-drinkers. More than 100 prospective studies have shown a J-shaped curve between alcohol and coronary heart disease (CHD). The lowest rates of CHD are found among those who consume two drinks of alcohol per day. Moderate alcohol consumption has also been associated with lowered risk of diabetes, dementia, and osteoporosis.