Building Muscle May Decrease Diabetes Risk


USA Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/29, Marcus) reports, “More muscle may reduce the odds of developing diabetes,” according to a study published in the September issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. After analyzing “data from 13,644 adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III,” then controlling for confounding factors, researchers found that for “each 10% increase in the skeletal muscle index…there was a corresponding 11% reduction in insulin resistance and a 12% decrease in pre-diabetes.”

“There was also a 12 percent reduction in pre-diabetes, a condition characterized by higher-than-normal blood sugar levels, said the researchers at the University of California-Los Angeles,” HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/28, Preidt) reported.

WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/28, Mann) reported that “resistance exercise may also have a role in helping people with type 2 diabetes better use the insulin that they do produce,” explained study author Arun S. Karlamangla, PhD, MD.


5 Powerful Foods that Lower Your Blood Pressure

Are you eating enough of these 5 amazing foods that help reduce high blood pressure?

Did you know that stroke and coronary heart disease still remain to be on the list of the top three main causes of death in the USA?  It’s time to take your health seriously so you don’t fall victim to these!

What is High Blood Pressure and how does this come into play?

According to the National Institute for Health, blood pressure levels of 140/90 mmHg or more can be classified ashypertension.

The worst part about having high blood pressure is that the condition can sometimes be present without any symptoms and before we know it, the damage is already extensive. Serious problems that have been associated with high blood pressure include kidney failure, heart attack, heart failure and stroke.

What are the Risk Factors Associated with High Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure can be influenced by a lot of factors – age, race, family history, tobacco use, sedentary lifestyle, diet, binge drinking, and stress levels. Chronic conditions such as sleep apnea, diabetes and high cholesterol levels can also precipitate the development of hypertension.

What can You Do to Lower Blood Pressure?

You don’t need potentially dangerous drugs to control and reduce your blood pressure. Controlling blood pressure levels could be as simple as doing lifestyle modifications and eating healthier.

If you are a smoker, quit. If you drink heavily, try to practice self-control. At work, take the stairs instead of the elevator. And if you have been obsessed with sweet, sugary foods as well as processed fast-food meals, then modify your eating habits as well. Learn to eat the right kinds of food before it’s too late.

Below are 5 of my top picks for powerful foods that could help you lower your blood pressure levels:

artichokes help lower blood pressure1. Artichokes

The use of artichokes has been implicated in the lowering of cholesterol levels in the blood. Since hypercholesterolemia is one of the risk factors for high blood pressure, this information is actually good news.  Three clinical trials conducted separately by Dr. Barbara Wider supports this fact. In Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews’ October 2009 issue, where the result of the study was published, it was shown that patients who were diagnosed with hypercholesterolemia and given Artichoke leaf extract exhibited a decrease in their blood cholesterol levels.

Artichokes taste amazing steamed (generally steam for about 1 hour) and then dip each piece into a mixture of olive oil, grass-fed butter, and garlic.  Delicious!

bananas cut high blood pressure2.  Bananas

A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine says that incorporating bananas in your day-to-day meals can actually cut stroke-related deaths by as much as 40 percent. A 1997 study at Johns Hopkins University recommended eating at least five bananas daily to achieve the desired effect, and that is to lower elevated blood pressure levels. However, a study conducted by Indian researchers at the Kasturba medical college revealed that people who eat two bananas a day, for one whole week, can lower their blood pressure levels by 10 percent.

Bananas are rich in potassium, which is responsible for the proper functioning of the heart.  It works with sodium to maintain balance of the body’s fluids, which is an important factor in the regulation of blood pressure.
compounds in beets beat blood pressure3.  Beets

A research study conducted by scientists from Barts and The London School Medicine revealed that simply drinking one 500 ml glass of beetroot juice each day can produce astounding health benefits, especially to the heart.

Beetroot juice has been found to lower high blood pressure levels. Professors Amrita Ahluwalia and Ben Benjamin, from the William Harvey Research Institute and Peninsula Medical Center, respectively, led the research efforts, which revealed that the consumption of dietary nitrate that is found in beetroot has BP-lowering effects in as fast as 1 hour after ingestion, with the effect lasting for up to 24 hours. The result of the study was published in the March 2008 issue of Hypertension.

You can try beetroot juice, or also try baked beets sliced on salads or as a side dish to dinner.
cocoa helps lower blood pressure4.  Cocoa

A study conducted by researchers from Germany’s University Hospital of Cologne revealed that cocoa can significantly lower high blood pressure levels. Study results were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The beneficial heart effects of cocoa are attributed to its flavonoid content, specifically procyanids.

Because cocoa is most commonly found in chocolate, people falsely assume that eating a lot of chocolate could be good for the health. Keep in mind that cocoa in chocolates have undergone a lot of processing, and it has been mixed with loads of sugar, so this is not totally healthy. The best way to take advantage of the health benefits offered by cocoa is to choose raw cacao – it is good for the heart, the brain and the liver.  Raw cacao nibs go great in smoothies!  Also use organic cocoa powder in smoothies or homemade hot cocoa sweetened with stevia instead of sugar.
garlic fights hypertension5.  Garlic

Researchers from South Australia’s University of Adelaide have conducted studies, which provide solid proof that the consumption of garlic can indeed help lower elevated blood pressure levels. Garlic supplements in powder form were given and results revealed that it produced a reduction in systolic blood pressure. Garlic has been known all over the world as a very important herb, especially with its heart-protecting capabilities. It helps lower blood cholesterol levels and prevents blood from forming clots (which could lead to heart attack and stroke).

Furthermore, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal has published the results of a laboratory test showing how garlic juice can lead to a decrease in blood pressure levels. Eating the equivalent of 2 cloves of garlic each day can significantly contribute to the health of the heart.

~ Frank Mangano

Eating Fish May Help Men Reduce Risk For Type 2 Diabetes

MedWire Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/25, Albert) reported that, according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online July 20 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “eating fish can help men reduce their risk for type 2 diabetes.” After analyzing data on 22,921 men and 29,759 women without a history of diabetes who ranged in age from 45 to 75 and who were followed for about five years, researchers “found that when compared with men in the lowest quartile for overall fish consumption, those in the highest quartile for consumption had a significant 27% reduced risk for developing type 2 diabetes.”

Notably, “fish consumption in women was not significantly related to a risk for type 2 diabetes,” Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/25, Barclay) reported.

Parents risking their child’s health by failing to get eyes tested

Almost 40% of parents of primary school pupils have never taken their child for an eye test, according to new poll.

Two in five kids are set to head back to school with undiagnosed eyesight issues, according to new research

UK parents are overlooking their children’s eyesight, with almost 40% of parents of primary school-aged kids admitting they’ve never taken their child for an eye test.

Nearly 70% of parents believe their child’s eyesight is ‘fine’, yet over a third admit they don’t know the danger signs of poor eye health, according to the ICM poll commissioned by Vision Express.

Worryingly, 88% of parents are unaware of the nationally recommended screening age of 5 years. Children under 16 are entitled to free NHS-funded eye tests, so speak to your child’s school or your local optician.

“An eye test can not only reveal a problem with a child’s sight but could also flag up more serious eye conditions, including retinoblastoma, a rare form of childhood eye cancer,” said Joy Felgate, chief executive of the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust.

“Parents are not only risking their child’s health in later life by failing to have their eyes tested from a young age, but also how effectively they are learning in the classroom on a daily basis,” said Sally Polak, from Vision Express.

~ Lara Brunt

The Importance of Children’s Eye Health

For many, the first day of school is quickly approaching. And, parents know there is so much to be done before the first day of school to make sure that their child has all of the tools to succeed this school year. A key part of this success starts with healthy eyesight in the classroom.

A child’s ability to see the blackboard and the words on a page clearly is critical to their learning experience. Prevent Blindness America, the nation’s oldest volunteer eye health and safety organization, has declared August as Children’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness month in an effort to encourage parents to learn about ways they can help protect their child’s vision.

Often children do not realize they have problems with their vision because they think how they see is how everyone else sees. They learn to compensate with their vision problems without fixing them, which can lead to more problems in school and later in life. Unfortunately, some students are misdiagnosed as having a learning disability or behavioral problems when they may simply have vision impairment. This confusion can be eliminated taking a child for a certified vision screening or an eye exam.

“Vision problems affect one in four school-aged children. We want all children to make sure their child’s eye problems do not go unnoticed this school year,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness America. “A child should not have to struggle in school because of an undetected vision problem.”

Eye problems can range from common refractive errors such as nearsightedness and farsightedness, to serious eye conditions including:

Amblyopia or “lazy eye” – the most common cause of visual impairment in children. As the brain develops and receives diminished images from the affected eye, it begins to suppress those images and favor the unaffected eye. If this condition persists, the weaker eye may become useless. Amblyopia becomes more difficult to treat effectively as the child becomes older.

Strabismus or “crossed eyes” – a condition where eyes are misaligned, or do not line up with each other. This problem is caused when the muscles do not work together. Strabismus may eventually lead to amblyopia. Approximately one in 50 children has strabismus.

Parents should hit the books as well to learn more about how to keep their children’s eyes healthy. Prevent Blindness America has created “Star Pupils,” a free program specifically designed to educate parents on what they can do to ensure healthy eyesight for their kids. Parents may visit and receive free information on everything from common eye conditions in children to tips on how to protect eyes from injury while playing sports.

For more information on children’s eye health and safety, please call Prevent Blindness America at (800) 331-2020 or visit

About Prevent Blindness America

Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness America is the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. Focused on promoting a continuum of vision care, Prevent Blindness America touches the lives of millions of people each year through public and professional education, advocacy, certified vision screening and training, community and patient service programs and research. These services are made possible through the generous support of the American public. Together with a network of affiliates, divisions and chapters, Prevent Blindness America is committed to eliminating preventable blindness in America. For more information, or to make a contribution to the sight-saving fund, call 1-800-331-2020. Or, visit us on the Web at or

Survey: 38 Million US Adults Turning To Alternative Therapies

WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/22, Hendrick) reported, “Most Americans believe that prescription medications are the most effective treatments for many common illnesses, but a Consumer Reports survey of more than 45,000 people finds that three-fourths of us are turning to alternative therapies like yoga and acupuncture.” Specifically, “38 million adults make more than 300 million visits per year to acupuncturists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and other practitioners of alternative and complementary techniques,” the report found. The report appears in the September issue of Consumer Reports Health, an online publication.

Americans Not Taking Proper Care of Their Eyes According to New Study

Research carried out by independent researchers funded by Transitions Optical shows that most Americans are not taking steps to protect their eyes, and few fully understand the effects of UV exposure on their eyes. Many ethnic groups, such as Asian Americans and Hispanics, showed lower awareness of eye health risks and the steps to take to prevent them. These groups are also at higher risk for other serious health problems that can affect long-term vision.

Of the surveyed adults, less than 40% reported seeing an eye doctor and receiving an eye exam in the past year. Eye exams catch the warning signs of serious problems like glaucoma and cataracts early when treatment is possible. Children also need yearly eye exams to ensure their eyes are developing properly and that their vision doesn’t need correction. Children often struggle in school when they need glasses but are unaware that they have eyesight problems.

Hispanics and Asian Americans showed the lowest rates of scheduling eye exams for children. Hispanics and African Americans are also at higher risk for eye-affecting diseases like hypertension and diabetes. These diseases often display early warning signs through the eyes and an annual eye check-up can catch chronic conditions early as well. Hispanics show a higher rate of glaucoma, macular degeneration and pterygia. These increased risks indicate that they need annual eye exams even more than other ethnic groups.

2 of 3 survey respondents weren’t aware that their ethnic background affected their chances for developing a serious vision problem. Hispanics and African Americans were less likely to purchase eyewear with UV protection, and had lower rates of understanding about the damage UV rays do to the eyes. UV damage occurs year round and lowers contrast and light sensitivity.

Eye Experts Say Reading On Smartphones May Strain Eyes

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/21, Gardner) reports that, according to a study published in Optometry and Vision Science, “people reading text messages or browsing the Internet on their smartphones tend to hold the devices closer than they would a book or newspaper.” This, combined with the often small font sizes, “could put added strain on people who already wear glasses or contact lenses.” Eye surgeon Dr. Scott MacRae suggests increasing font size on smartphones, e-readers, and using “Verdana 12-point font, the only font designed specifically for computers.”

Diet Rich In Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Be Associated With Lower Dementia Risk

WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/20, Laino) reported, “A diet rich in certain omega-3 fatty acids may lower the risk of developing dementia,” according to research presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. “In a study of more than 2,000 older women and men followed for nearly five years, the more omega-3-rich oily fish they ate, the lower their risk of developing dementia.” In particular, the study authors looked at the “omega-3 fatty acids DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eiosapentaenoic acid), found in salmon, sardines, tuna, halibut, and mackerel.”

Whey Protein May Be Helpful for Weight Loss

All protein may not be created equal when it comes to weight loss.

Whey, or milk, protein may offer people who want to slim down a slight edge over soy, a new study shows.

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center randomly assigned 90 overweight and obese middle-aged adults to one of three groups. The first group was asked to add protein drinks made with whey to their normal diets, the second group drank protein drinks made with soy protein, and the third group drank carbohydrate drinks.

Study participants weren’t told which group they had been assigned to. All the drinks, which were drunk twice daily, at breakfast and dinner, had the same number of calories: 200. They also all had had 52 grams per packet, for a daily total of 104 grams of added protein or carbs.

Researchers tracked participants’ physical activity levels, weights, waist sizes, lean and fat body mass, and blood levels of hormones related to hunger and metabolism.

They also had people keep records of the other foods they were eating. The researchers made sure participants were drinking the shakes during random urine tests for levels of a chemical tracer they had added to the powders.

Seventy-three people completed the study, which is published in the Journal of Nutrition.

Whey Protein vs. Soy Protein

When the study started, there were no significant differences between groups, researchers report.

Men weighed an average of 218 pounds, while women weighed an average of about 190 pounds.

Throughout the study, all the groups ate roughly the same number of average daily calories, about 2,200.

After six months, people drinking the carbohydrate shakes had gained a little bit of weight, about 2 pounds, which appeared to be mainly added fat, compared to where they started.

People drinking the soy shakes had stayed about the same weight as where they started.

But people drinking the whey protein had lost a little bit of weight and body fat, about 2 pounds. Additionally, while the other groups saw little change in the size of their waists, the whey protein group lost about an inch around the middle.

The study was partially funded by the dairy industry.

How Whey Protein May Affect Weight

Researchers say a couple of things may help to explain the weight and fat loss seen with whey protein.

People in the whey protein group had significantly lower blood levels of the hormone ghrelin than people eating the soy protein or carbohydrate.

“It’s a hormone that helps regulate food intake,” says David J. Baer, PhD, research physiologist at the USDA’s agriculture research service in Beltsville, Md. “So the higher concentration, the more hungry somebody feels. The lower concentration, the fuller somebody feels.”

And though researchers really can’t explain why this happened or what it means, they found that people drinking the whey protein had cut back on their carbohydrate intake by the end of the study, even though they weren’t eating fewer total calories and didn’t know what kind of supplement they were getting.

Though people drinking soy protein saw little change in their weight or body composition during the study, they had higher levels of thyroid hormones compared to those drinking whey. Thyroid hormones control metabolism and higher levels may indicate a metabolic boost, though more research is needed to fully explain what that may mean for weight loss.

For people who are hoping to replicate the results at home, researchers advise picking a whey product that is also low in calories and fat.

“A lot of the whey products on the market also have a lot of calories in them,” Baer says, “Consumers just need to read those labels.

Cell Phone Use Affects Brain Glucose Metabolism

Use of a cell phone for as little as 50 minutes at a time appears to affect brain glucose metabolism in the region closest to the phone’s antenna, a new study shows.

Investigators used positron emission tomography (PET) during cell phone use in the on and then off positions and found that although whole-brain metabolism was not affected, metabolism was increased in the orbitofrontal cortex and the temporal pole areas of the brain while the cell phone was on, areas that are close to where phone’s antenna meets the head.

Dr. Nora Volkow

“We do not know what the clinical significance of this finding is, both with respect to potential therapeutic effect of this type of technology but also potential negative consequences from cell phone exposure,” said lead study author Nora D. Volkow, MD, from the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Bethesda, Maryland, during a teleconference.

In the interim though, she recommends using hands-free devices or speaker-phone mode to avoid direct contact of the telephone with the head. Previous work suggests that if the phone is a foot or more away it is very unlikely to have any effects, she said. “So there are some very easy solutions that don’t cost anything for those who want to play it safe.”

Caution may be particularly necessary for children and adolescents whose neural tissue is still developing, Dr. Volkow noted. This is also a population who started their lives with cell phones and can expect to be exposed for years to come, she added.

Their report appears in the February 23 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Effect of Imaging Tools?

The proliferation of cell phone use has raised the question of the effects of radiofrequency-modulated electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs), particularly carcinogenic effects. Epidemiologic studies looking at the relationship between cell phones and brain tumors have been inconsistent with some, but not all, studies finding increased risk, “and the issue remains unresolved,” the study authors write.

Dr. Volkow is well known for her work in the area of addictions, not generally adverse effects of cell phone use, but this new study nevertheless stemmed from that research, she said. They have been studying whether imaging technologies, including PET and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), that are used to study the brain can directly affect brain function. “For the past 15 years, we’ve done a series of studies to try to actually assess whether magnetic fields affect brain glucose metabolism,” Dr. Volkow explained.

They found, for example, that the static magnetic field of a 4-T MRI does not affect brain metabolism, she said. However, when the magnetic fields were changed rapidly, which produces electrical currents, there was a significant increase in glucose metabolism in the brain. They wondered whether the RF-EMFs produced by cell phones might do the same thing.

The current study was a randomized, crossover study that enrolled 47 healthy, community-dwelling subjects. All underwent PET with (18F)fluorodeoxyglucose injection twice for 50 minutes at a time, once with a cell phone at each ear but only the right phone on, although it was muted, and once with both cell phones off.

They found that whole brain metabolism was not significantly different with the phone on vs off. However, metabolism in the regions closest to the antenna, the orbitofrontal cortex and temporal pole, was significantly higher when the cell phone was on.

Table. Brain Metabolism in Area Closest to Antenna With Cell Phone On vs Off

Endpoint On Mode Off Mode Mean Difference (95% CI) P
Metabolism in area closest to antenna, μmol/100 g per minute 35.7 33.3 2.4 (0.67 – 4.2) .004

CI = confidence interval

The difference between off and on modes was about a 7% increase in glucose metabolism, within the range of physiologic activation during speaking, for example, she said.

The increases in activation also correlated significantly with the estimated electromagnetic field amplitudes for both absolute metabolism (R = 0.95) and for normalized metabolism (R = 0.89, P < .001 for both).

It’s possible that the activation would be even higher in subjects who are actually talking on the phone, but in this study they did not want the subjects to talk during imaging, which might have activated other brain areas and confounded the cell phone’s effects, she said.

Unfortunately, Dr. Volkow noted, these findings don’t shed any light on the controversy of whether cell phone exposure produces or does not produce cancer. “What it does say to us is that the human brain is sensitive to this electromagnetic radiation,” she said. Whether this has any negative consequences needs to be evaluated.

They powered the study to detect even small effects, Dr. Volkow added. If they had not seen any effect after 50 minutes of exposure, “it would have been much easier to dismiss any concern about potential negatives of cell phones,” she said. “But the fact that we are observing changes really highlights the need to do the studies to be properly able to answer the question of whether cell phone exposure can have harmful effects or not.”

It’s also possible that if there may be beneficial effects, she speculated. “Could one use, for example, this type of technology to activate areas of the brain that may not be properly activated and explore potential therapeutic applications of this type of technology? But that would require that one show there are no untoward effects.”

Add to the Concern

In an editorial accompanying the publication, Henry Lai, PhD, from the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington, Seattle, and Lennart Hardell, MD, PhD, from the Department of Oncology at University Hospital, Orebro, Sweden, point out that this is the first investigation in humans of glucose metabolism in the brain after cell phone use.

“The results by Volkow et al add to the concern about possible acute and long-term health effects of radiofrequency emissions from wireless phones, including both mobile and cordless desktop phones,” they write.

“Although the biological significance, if any, of increased glucose metabolism from acute cell phone exposure is unknown, the results warrant further investigation.”

The effects are unlikely to be mediated by the substantial increase in temperature seen with cell phones given the activation was “quite distant” from where the cell phone made contact, they speculate. Further, since the subjects were only listening rather than talking on the phone, “the effect observed could thus potentially be more pronounced in normal-use situations.”

The study was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health and by infrastructure support from the US Department of Energy. The researchers and editorialists have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

JAMA. 2011;305:808-814, 828-829.

Anti-aging and eye health benefits of resveratrol for age-related macular degeneration

Resveratrol a natural polyphenolic phytochemical with a variety of health benefits in age-related diseases, and aging process.

Resveratrol is found in at least 72 plant species and exists in two structural isomeric forms, cis and trans, with the trans form being more common and possessing greater biological activity. Polygonum cuspidatum, which is a plant used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine, is one of the richest sources of resveratrol. The primary dietary sources for human consumption are peanuts, red grapes and red wine.

Resveratrol has a diverse range of biological properties including antioxidant, cardioprotection, anticancer activity, anti-inflammatory effects, estrogenic/anti-estrogenic properties, many of them mediated by modulation of cellular signal transduction pathways.

The polyphenolic structure of resveratrol confers its antioxidant activity. Polyphenols are known for protecting against oxidative stress, degenerative diseases, and aging process. The antioxidant and ‘anti-aging’ properties of resveratrol are believed to be through the activation of SIRT1 gene and by mimicking calorie-restriction conditions.1,2,3,4

Current literature search suggest that resveratrol supplementation could offer the potential for modulating the risks in development and progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

In one recent study resveratrol has shown strong protective effects against oxysterol-induced cell death and VEGF secretion and prevented neovascularization (development of new blood vessels), which is a major complication of AMD. The authors suggest a new “therapeutic perspective” for treatment of AMD using resveratrol.5

Abnormal angiogenesis (new blood vessels growing) is central to the pathophysiology of visually debilitating eye diseases such as AMD, and can lead to blindness.

Resveratrol in in vitro and in vivo experiments (in mouse retinas) inhibited pathological angiogenesis, induced by laser injury, and resulted in inhibition of proliferation and migration of vascular endothelial cells.

According to Dr. Rajendrar S. Apte the senior investigator of one of these studies, “resveratrol could potentially be a preventive therapy in high-risk patients, and because it works on existing abnormal blood vessels, it may be a therapy that can be started after angiogenesis has already started to cause its damage.6

This suggested a broad beneficial effect by resveratrol against retinal diseases associated with damage and loss of retinal cells

More studies are being conducted on potential of resveratrol for ameliorating age-related retinal cell degeneration. In one particular study synergistic effects were seen by combining zeaxanthin with resveratrol for alleviating the oxidative damage in the acute acrolein toxicity models.7

Resveratrol also has shown protective effects against ultraviolet A-mediated damage to human retinal cells. We know that light damage to the retina accelerates its degeneration and can lead to macular degeneration and vision loss.8

In one study, although it included only one 80-year old man who had complaints of unremitting night driving difficulty and parafoveal deposition of retinal lipofuscin, resveratrol showed clinically measurable and subjective improvements in vision, including self-reported night vision, and dramatic improvement in contrast sensitivity function and mental function.9

The antioxidative, gene modifying and anti-angiogenic properties of resveratrol suggest a strong rationale for using this compound as a nutritional supplement ingredient in early AMD.


Soy, Milk Protein Supplements May Be Associated With Lower Blood Pressure

The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/18, Stein) “Booster Shots” blog reported that, according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online in Circulation, Journal of the American Heart Association, “soy and milk protein supplements may be associated with lower blood pressure more than refined carbohydrate supplements.”

For a two-month period, researchers randomized 352 “people with mild hypertension or higher-than-normal blood pressure on three separate regimens of daily supplements containing soy protein, milk protein, and complex carbohydrates,” CNN Share to FacebookShare to Twitter/ (7/18, Harding) explained. “The carbohydrate supplement — which contained largely refined carbohydrates — had no measurable effect on blood pressure, but when the participants took the soy and milk protein supplements, their systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) dropped by about two points, on average.”

MedPage Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/18, Neale) reported, “During the study, there were no differences based on the supplement taken in intake of total energy, fat, saturated fat, sodium, potassium, and calcium.” Interestingly, “HDL cholesterol level was significantly higher with soy protein than with the other two supplements (P=0.03), but body weight, fasting plasma glucose, and other lipid parameters were consistent between the three supplements.”

According to HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/18, Doheny), “While the reduction in blood pressure was small, study leader Dr. Jiang He, chairman of epidemiology at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, said the benefits could translate to reduced numbers of strokes and other cardiovascular problems in the population as a whole.” The study authors suggested that “replacing some refined carbohydrates — such as white bread and white rice — in your diet with soy or milk protein ‘might be an important component of nutrition intervention strategies for the prevention and treatment of hypertension.'” WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/18, Boyles) and HeartWire Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/18, Nainggolan) also covered the story.

Eye Experts Say Protective Eyewear Would Prevent Most Sports-Related Eye Injuries

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/18, Kelly) reports, “More than 600,000 Americans will suffer an eye injury while playing a sport this year,” according to the National Eye Institute (NEI). “Of these, about 42,000 will be serious enough to require treatment in a hospital emergency room.” But, “more than 90 percent of these injuries could be prevented if the athletes were wearing protective eyewear, say the NEI and the national associations of ophthalmologists and optometrists.” Regular eyeglasses are no substitute for impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses. Ideally, the glasses should completely cover the eye socket, particularly for those who play basketball.

Vitamin C more important than known for eye, brain health

Vitamin C has an important role for eye and possibly brain health, finds a new investigation. Scientists at Oregon Health & Science University (OSHU) recently discovered the cells in the eye are bathed in the vitamin. In their research, scientists found high doses of vitamin C are necessary to keep the retina of the eye, and probably the brain, functioning properly.

Because nerve cells in the eye also communicate with the brain, the scientists speculate much more needs to be learned about the role of vitamin C for brain health.

Vitamin C might have a role for treating eye disease

In studies the scientists found removing vitamin C from cells in the retina of the eye caused them to stop functioning properly.

For their research, the scientists used goldfish retinas because of biological similarities with human eyes.

The finding means vitamin C might be protective for individuals at risk for glaucoma.

According to Henrique von Gersdorff, Ph.D., a senior scientist at OHSU’s Vollum Institute and a co-author of the study.

“Because the retina is part of the central nervous system, this suggests there’s likely an important role for vitamin C throughout our brains, to a degree we had not realized before.”

Removing vitamin C from cells in the eye caused gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors, which are present throughout the brain, to stop functioning properly. The researchers note vitamin C stays in the brain longer than anywhere else in the body.

“Perhaps the brain is the last place you want to lose vitamin C,” von Gersdorff said. Lack of vitamin C that causes scurvy is also linked to depression. Von Gersdorff speculated it may be lack of vitamin C that causes depression associated with the disease.

Vitamin C is important for a variety of bodily functions, but until now researchers were unaware of the potential neuroprotective properties for eye function and possibly the brain.

Von Gersdorff said, “This is speculative and there is much to learn. But this research provides some important insights and will lead to the generation of new hypotheses and potential treatment strategies.”

GABA receptors in the eye and brain inhibit rapid firing of neurons. In the retina of the eye, GABA receptors send signals to other cells.

The OSHU researchers found vitamin C ‘bathes’ cells in the retina and is necessary for proper eye function. Because the retina is part of the central nervous system, vitamin C may be more important for brain health that previously known.

Two Patients Treated For Eye Diseases With Embryonic Stem Cells

The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/14, Hernandez) “Booster Shots” blog reported, “After more than 20 years of research, doctors at UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute have begun treating the first patients in clinical trials for two progressive eye diseases that cause blindness: dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and Stargardt’s macular dystrophy.” On Tuesday, two “patients were given an injection of specialized eye cells that were derived from embryonic stem cells.” Both “patients are said to be recovering without complications.”

The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/14, Stein) “The Checkup” blog reported that the study was sponsored by Advanced Cell Technology. “The Food and Drug Administration in November approved the company’s plans to test cells created from human embryonic stem cells on 12 patients suffering from each condition. Each patient will undergo a procedure in which between 50,000 to 200,000 retinal pigmented epithelial cells created from human embryonic stem cells will be injected into their eyes.” Investigators “hope the cells will replace those ravaged by the diseases.” Previous research in rat models indicated that some vision was restored.

Even if you think you see perfectly, get your eyes checked

One day last year, a 43-year-old man came into my office. He had always seen perfectly and had never had an eye exam. “Never needed one,” he said.

Though his vision was still clear, something seemed a little “off” so he came in to have it checked.

His vision was, indeed, perfect without glasses. But doing the eye health examination and looking inside his eyes, I discovered a huge tumor that took up about a third of the inside of one eye.

He had to have his eye removed about three weeks later. The surgeons were worried that his aggressive tumor would kill him if the eye was not removed.

Unfortunately, I see patients all the time who do not get their eyes examined yearly. Just because you can see clearly does not mean your eyes are healthy. There are many eye diseases such as cancer, glaucoma and diabetic eye disease that can be blinding or deadly, and they do not affect your vision until the end stages.

Many eye disorders will not show any vision changes until significant damage has been done.

Many people see the eye doctor only when their vision is blurry, but eye doctors have the technology to detect serious eye diseases before they cause vision damage. Yearly eye exams might have easily saved my patient’s eyes.

Yearly eye exams can also help detect overall health problems that you may be unaware of, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and strokes, which can all show their earliest signs in the eyes.

Eye cancer is more prevalent among people who are exposed to a lot of UV radiation, such as those who work outside and on the water. Eye cancer can be found on the eyelid, on the eye itself or inside the eye. Six percent of all skin cancers begin on the eyelid.

The best protection from UV radiation is a pair of high quality, polarized sunglasses. They will block your eyes and eyelids from UV radiation. Polarized sunglasses also reduce glare from the sun, which is important when out on the water.

But beware that all sunglasses that are labeled “polarized” are not the same. There are weak federal regulations in the United States on the amount of UV radiation that sunglasses must block.

Thus, some of the cheaper drugstore sunglasses may do more harm than good. Any dark lens will cause your eyes to dilate and allow more light and UV radiation in. If your sunglasses are not of high quality, this simply allows more damaging UV radiation into your eyes and may actually increase the risk of eye cancer.

Another way UV radiation can enter your eyes is from reflecting from the backside surface of your sunglasses. I recommend an anti-reflective coating on the back of high quality polarized sunglasses to minimize radiation bouncing into your eye.

Always check with your eye doctor to see if the sunglasses you wear have high quality polarized lenses in them and anti-reflective coating on the backside to minimize exposure to UV radiation.

Glaucoma is another silent eye disease that can be devastating because it can cause blindness if not detected early. It, too, has no symptoms or vision changes until the latest stages when the damage is permanent and irreversible.

People who are at more risk for glaucoma usually have the following risk factors: over the age of 40, any family history of glaucoma, any blunt trauma to the eye (even when you were a child) and any previous or current steroid use. The only way to detect glaucoma is to see your eye doctor.

, a 43-year-old man came into my office. He had always seen perfectly and had never had an eye exam. “Never needed one,” he said.

Though his vision was still clear, something seemed a little “off” so he came in to have it checked.

His vision was, indeed, perfect without glasses. But doing the eye health examination and looking inside his eyes, I discovered a huge tumor that took up about a third of the inside of one eye.

He had to have his eye removed about three weeks later. The surgeons were worried that his aggressive tumor would kill him if the eye was not removed.

Unfortunately, I see patients all the time who do not get their eyes examined yearly. Just because you can see clearly does not mean your eyes are healthy. There are many eye diseases such as cancer, glaucoma and diabetic eye disease that can be blinding or deadly, and they do not affect your vision until the end stages.

Many eye disorders will not show any vision changes until significant damage has been done.

Many people see the eye doctor only when their vision is blurry, but eye doctors have the technology to detect serious eye diseases before they cause vision damage. Yearly eye exams might have easily saved my patient’s eyes.

Yearly eye exams can also help detect overall health problems that you may be unaware of, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and strokes, which can all show their earliest signs in the eyes.

Eye cancer is more prevalent among people who are exposed to a lot of UV radiation, such as those who work outside and on the water. Eye cancer can be found on the eyelid, on the eye itself or inside the eye. Six percent of all skin cancers begin on the eyelid.

The best protection from UV radiation is a pair of high quality, polarized sunglasses. They will block your eyes and eyelids from UV radiation. Polarized sunglasses also reduce glare from the sun, which is important when out on the water.

But beware that all sunglasses that are labeled “polarized” are not the same. There are weak federal regulations in the United States on the amount of UV radiation that sunglasses must block.

Thus, some of the cheaper drugstore sunglasses may do more harm than good. Any dark lens will cause your eyes to dilate and allow more light and UV radiation in. If your sunglasses are not of high quality, this simply allows more damaging UV radiation into your eyes and may actually increase the risk of eye cancer.

Another way UV radiation can enter your eyes is from reflecting from the backside surface of your sunglasses. I recommend an anti-reflective coating on the back of high quality polarized sunglasses to minimize radiation bouncing into your eye.

Always check with your eye doctor to see if the sunglasses you wear have high quality polarized lenses in them and anti-reflective coating on the backside to minimize exposure to UV radiation.

Glaucoma is another silent eye disease that can be devastating because it can cause blindness if not detected early. It, too, has no symptoms or vision changes until the latest stages when the damage is permanent and irreversible.

People who are at more risk for glaucoma usually have the following risk factors: over the age of 40, any family history of glaucoma, any blunt trauma to the eye (even when you were a child) and any previous or current steroid use. The only way to detect glaucoma is to see your eye doctor.

~Dr. Dawn Bearden

Study Reveals Majority of Americans are not Taking Proper Steps to Care for the Health of Their Eyes

Research Shows Ethnic Minorities are Less Concerned about Eye Health – Placing Them at Even More of an Increased Risk of Certain Vision Conditions

 The results of recent, comprehensive research supported by Transitions Optical revealed that the majority of Americans are not taking the proper steps to care for the health of their eyes, and that awareness of both short- and long-term effects of UV exposure on vision is remarkably low. The results also indicated that overall awareness about eye health is even lower among certain ethnic groups, including Hispanics, African Americans and Asian Americans, who are already at an increased risk for a number of health-related issues – many that can impact vision.

Surprisingly, less than four out of 10 Americans reported visiting their eye doctor within the past 12 months. And Americans are not just neglecting to schedule eye exams for themselves – only four out of 10 parents have taken their children to an eye doctor within the past year. What’s more, Hispanics and Asian Americans are more likely than the general population to have never scheduled an appointment for their children. Because 80 percent of learning is through vision, it is especially important that children can see their best to perform well both in and out of the classroom.

While low concern and awareness of eye health is surprising among the general population, it is even more alarming among ethnic minorities such as Hispanics, African Americans and Asian Americans, who are more likely to develop serious eye and overall health issues that can take a toll on their vision. More specifically, both Hispanics and African Americans are often affected by overall health issues such as diabetes and hypertension, which have vision implications and can be detected through the eye, making regular, comprehensive eye exams even more important. Hispanics are also at higher risk for many eye health issues, including pterygia and glaucoma, as well as macular degeneration and cataracts, which have both been linked to UV exposure. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness among all African Americans, and they are also at higher risk for developing cataracts at a younger age. Asian Americans are more likely to develop angle-closure glaucoma and near-sightedness (myopia), as well as Type 2 diabetes, which can make them more susceptible to heightened damage from UV exposure, reduced contrast sensitivity and increased light sensitivity.

However despite this, the research revealed that two out of three respondents don’t know that their ethnicity could be putting them at higher risk for certain vision conditions.

Survey results also suggest that ethnic minority groups may not be taking adequate steps to protect their vision. For example, although Hispanics responded the most in-line with the general population, they were still more likely to believe that UV protection is only important in the spring and summer months, and were less likely to say that “eye health protection” is an important consideration when selecting eyewear.

While African Americans were the most likely to say they would schedule an eye exam if experiencing symptoms of vision problems such as near-sightedness or presbyopia (loss of ability to focus and see things up close), they were also the most likely to do nothing to protect their eyes from UV rays despite their increased risk of developing cataracts.

Despite research confirming that Asian Americans are at higher risk for developing near-sightedness, they were the least likely (six out of 10) to say they would make an eye appointment if having trouble seeing far away. They were not only the most likely demographic group to believe that UV protection is only important in the spring and summer months, but were also the most likely to believe that wearing eyeglasses can make their vision get worse.

“One of our constant goals at Transitions is to educate all consumers, regardless of ethnicity, about the importance of maintaining eye health,” said Dan McLean, marketing manager, communications, Transitions Optical. “This research shows that there is an even greater need to educate all populations and at-risk ethnic groups in particular, about how to take care of their eyes by getting regular, comprehensive eye exams and wearing proper UV-blocking eyewear all year-round.”

Because eye damage is cumulative, it is never too early or too late to start getting regular, comprehensive eye exams.

We carry Transitions Zeiss lens at wholesale costs here at KDT Optometry.

Computers are a blight for sore eyes

FACEBOOK and Twitter may be doing wonders for your online social life, but the amount of time spent keeping your eyes glued to the computer screen or your smartphone could have an adverse effect on your eyes, according to experts.

The increasing use of computers and cellphones may be good for technological advancement, it was having a negative impact on people’s eye health.

Dr. Truong has been seeing more people with strain-related eye problems such as blurred vision, eye fatigue, neck pains and headaches than ever before.

And young people were the most vulnerable.

Dr. Khoa Truong, an optometrist who owns KDT Optometry in San Diego, said he was seeing more patients with computer vision syndrome (CVS), a condition that was usually caused by extended and uninterrupted periods of focusing on a computer screen or television.

The temporary condition is characterised by dry, irritated and sometimes watery eyes, double or blurred vision, sore eyes, fatigue, light sensitivity and bloodshot eyes.

Medical experts estimate that the condition affects between 80 and 90 percent of people who spend three hours or more a day at a computer.

While the high-risk group used to be office workers, this trend is changing, with more young people reporting the syndrome symptoms.

And it looks like the easy access of internet and social networks on cellphones could be the cause of the upsurge.

“Alarmingly, I am finding these same problems in younger patients, more than likely due to the popularity of social sites like Facebook, Twitter and others, and the excessive time spent staring at computer monitors, smartphones and the like,” he said.

He pointed out that poor workplace conditions could contribute to the syndrome.

“When focusing on a fixed object, the normal blink reflex is not stimulated, and dry, uncomfortable red eyes are the result.

“Glare from artificial light reflecting off the computer monitor causes severe eye strain and the constant focusing of eyes without rest will cause fatigue and headaches,” he said.

After experiencing burning and sore eyes, short-sightedness and double vision, some patients go to an optometrist for a check-up.

Some comments Dr. Truong has heard include:

“Initially I thought that the short-sightedness was just ageing.

“It never really crossed my mind that computer use might have anything to do with the tiredness and irritability.

“When I was diagnosed with the syndrome I looked at the doctor, and I was like, what are you talking about… I didn’t know what the condition was all about,” he said.

While the syndrome was preventable and could be minimised by spending less time in front of a computer screen, treatment of this condition was available in a form of chemical lubricants such as natural tears or decongestants.

There was also homeopathic products that helped to relieve strained eye muscles.

The syndrome can also be minimised through minimal steps such as blinking more often, avoiding excessive bright light, adjusting or moving your monitor or tilting it, using computer reading glasses, and by taking frequent breaks away from your computer or cellphone.

Men May Be More Likely Than Women To Die From Most Cancers

The Seattle Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/13, Daza) reports that “men are at higher risk than women of developing cancer within their lifetime, and astudy Share to FacebookShare to Twitter ” published in the journal Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention “shows they are also more likely to die from it.” Michael Cook, lead investigator and researcher at the National Institutes of Health, and colleagues “examined 36 types of cancer by gender, using almost 30 years of data, from 1977 and 2006.”

The CNN Share to FacebookShare to Twitter / (7/13, McMillen) reports, “Leukemia and cancers of the colon and rectum, pancreas, and liver killed about one and a half to two times as many men as women in the US over” the “30-year period.” The researchers also found that “lung cancer killed nearly two and a half times as many men during that time.”

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/13) reports that the major explanation for the disparity is that females face a lower risk of developing cancer, compared to males, Cook contends.

MedPage Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/12, Walsh) reported that the investigators “found that there had been some changes over time, such as decreases in the male-to-female ratios in lung, laryngeal, and pancreatic cancers but increases in esophageal, skin, and hepatic cancers.” The researchers “also found changes in mortality by age.” For instance, “for skin cancer, the male-to-female mortality ratio has increased in patients 50 and older, because mortality has increased in men but remained stable in women.”

WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/12, Hendrick) reported that “the highest male-to-female death rate ratios were 5.51 men for every woman for lip cancer, 5.37 to 1 for cancer of the larynx, and 4.47 to 1 for cancer of the hypopharynx.” Meanwhile, “three cancers had a higher death rate in women than men: gallbladder cancer, anal cancer, and cancer of the peritoneum, omentum, and mesentery.” HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/12, Reinberg) also covered the story.

Cancer Researchers Advocate Updating Family Histories Often. The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/12, Roan) “Booster Shots” blog reported that when it comes to determining a person’s risk of cancer and need for screening, “family history needs to updated every five or 10 years,” according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers “looked at thousands of adults with a personal or family history of cancer and found that many changes in one’s family history of breast, colorectal and prostate cancer occur between age 30 and 50,” and important changes could be missed if the patient’s family history is not updated accordingly. The blog entry also pointed out that “the frequency of cancer screening tests has become a topic of debate in recent years as medical experts try to balance the benefits of screening against the potential risks and costs.”

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/12, Mann) quoted Massachusetts General Hospital researcher Dianne M. Finkelstein, who recommended that “if anyone in your family gets cancer, you should know the age when they were diagnosed and the original site of the cancer,” since “this information changes the doctor’s strategy…and they may find any cancer earlier, which may change the outcome.”

MedPage Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/12, Smith) provided some details illustrating the changing family histories and risks as patients age. For instance, “At age 30, 2.1% of participants met the criteria for high-risk screening for colorectal cancer, compared with 7.1% at age 50. For breast cancer, the rates were 7.2% at age 30 and 11.4% at age 50. And for prostate cancer, the rates were 0.9% at 30 and 2% at age 50.” The study was supported by the National Cancer Institute.

WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/12, Boyle) reported that Finkelstein said that “after the age of 50 family history becomes less important because screening is recommended for everyone.”

VNTV Episode #5 – Nutrition and the Eyes Part Two with Dr. Hoang Ho, OD

Filmed on July 8th, 2011, we finished our discussion on the proper supplementation to insure great eye health and overall physical health. Our emphasis was on strong anti-oxidants that help the body rid of free radicals which can cause cancer and other degenerative diseases. We also went into detail about diabetic retinopathy caused by diabetes, macular degeneration, and glaucoma, discussing why OPC-3 and omega 3 fish oils are considered extremely potent agents. There is a huge variance in quality when it comes to these products especially the fish oils so we will recommend the very best.

What Makes nutraMetrix Isotonix OPC-3® Unique?

nutraMetrix Isotonix OPC-3® is an isotonic-capable food supplement that is made from a combination of bilberry, grape seed, red wine and pine bark extracts, and citrus extract bioflavonoids, all found to be powerful antioxidants. Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) are bioflavonoids (complex organic plant compounds) found in fruits, vegetables and certain tree barks that provide exceptional nutritional benefits to the human body. Studies have shown OPCs to be up to 20 times more powerful than vitamin C and 50 times more powerful than vitamin E in neutralizing free radicals. nutraMetrix Isotonix OPC-3 contains the only isotonic form of Pycnogenol® in the world. Pycnogenol is a natural plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree and the most clinically researched and potent bioflavonoid.*

Isotonic, which means “same pressure,” bears the same chemical resemblance of the body’s blood, plasma and tears. All fluids in the body have a certain concentration, referred to as osmotic pressure. The body’s common osmotic pressure, which is isotonic, allows a consistent maintenance of body tissues. In order for a substance to be absorbed and used in the body’s metabolism, it must be transported in an isotonic state.

Isotonix® dietary supplements are delivered in an isotonic solution. This means that the body has less work to do to in obtaining maximum absorption. The isotonic state of the suspension allows nutrients to pass directly into the small intestine and be rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. With Isotonix products, little nutritive value is lost, making the absorption of nutrients highly efficient while delivering maximum results.

What Makes Heart Health™ Essential Omega III Fish Oil with Vitamin E Unique?

Heart Health Essential Omega III with Vitamin E is a superior product due to a number of factors. The best fish are used to produce a clean and safe product that is rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). It also contains 3000mg of fish oil where most other commercial products contain a third of the total fish oil contained in Heart Health Essential Omega III. Heart Health Essential Omega III comes from small fish where other competitive products use large fish which are more likely to accumulate toxins. Heart Health Essential Omega III provides a high quality, high purity product with significant percentages of the health promoting EPA and DHA.

The fish oil in Heart Health Essential Omega III with Vitamin E comes from sardines and anchovies harvested off the coast of Peru. Not only do anchovies and sardines have a high omega III content, they also have high percentages of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Anchovies and sardines have a short lifecycle making them an ideal source of fish oil because they are less prone to accumulating environmental toxins that can be found in larger, longer-lived fish. Contaminants are generally low in sardines and anchovies even before they go through an intense purification process. Every batch of fish oil is hand selected and tested prior to processing by our manufacturer and must pass more than 200 quality checks during the production process.

Recent research has shown that that fish oil may be beneficial in supporting cognitive function by helping the body manage stress and enhance mood. It may also promote a healthy complexion. In an article published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the effects of Omega-3 Fish oil supplementation was shown to be beneficial for healthy cognitive and cardiac functioning. The study shows that supplementing with fish oil daily can rapidly raise the levels of EPA and DHA in cardiac tissue. This is important because both EPA and DHA have been proven to help maintain normal plasma triglycerides. In addition, DHA has been shown to help maintain blood pressure and blood viscosity. This study also showed an inverse relationship between EPA/DHA and arachidonic acid (AA), an omega-6 fatty acid. As EPA and DHA increased in atrial (heart tissue) phospholipids, AA decreased.1

Heart Health™ Essential Omega III Fish Oil with Vitamin E provides the three grams of omega III that studies reveal is the most effective amount to promote overall cardiovascular health. Fish oils have been clinically demonstrated to provide a host of benefits that successfully promote cardiovascular health. Essential Omega III Fish Oil helps maintain normal cholesterol and triglyceride levels, promotes healthy blood pressure levels, helps maintain healthy levels of C-reactive protein, helps maintain normal blood flow and helps enhance mood. The fish oil used in Essential Omega III is tested twice, once by the manufacturer and then by an independent testing company for mercury, lead, PCB, and other heavy metals. Both tests confirm that Heart Health Essential Omega III Fish Oil is free of mercury, lead, PCPs, and other heavy metals. We only use fish oil that meets or exceeds standards set by Canada (CFIA), the European Union (EU) and the United States (CRN).*

Poor cardiovascular health is one of the leading causes of death and illness in the United States, accounting for one out of every two deaths in both men and women. Poor cardiovascular health is becoming a worldwide epidemic. An unhealthy diet of processed, high-calorie, high-fat foods, pollution, smoking and sedentary lifestyles all contribute to poor heart health. Not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, exercising regularly and taking the right supplements can all contribute to promoting good cardiovascular health. Clinical trials have shown that supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish oil) may help to maintain normal levels of triglycerides and cholesterol, support healthy blood pressure and promote normal platelet activity.*

Click Here For More Information

Younger Children May Respond Better To Amblyopia Treatment

MedPage Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/11, Walsh) reported, “Younger children with amblyopia respond better to treatment than do their older peers,” according to a meta-analysis Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online July 11 in the Archives of Ophthalmology. After examining data on some 996 children, researchers found that youngsters “younger than seven had significantly greater improvements for both moderate (P<0.04) and severe (P<0.001) amblyopia than did those seven to 13.” And, “among the younger children, there were no significant differences in response between those ages three to five and those in the five and seven group for either moderate (P=0.67) or severe (P=0.09) amblyopia.” Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/11, Barclay) also covered the story.

Genetics, Lifestyle May Contribute To AMD Progression

The Boston Globe  (7/8, Satija) reported that a study  published in the July issue of Ophthalmology detailed the influence of genetics and environment on the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Researchers “looked at over 200 male pairs of identical twins” in which some twins both had the disease but at different stages, or only one twin did. The study found that heavy smoking was correlated with more advanced AMD, whereas eating foods high in betaine and methionine correlates with slower development of disease. “A previous study of identical and fraternal twins…found that genetics explained between 46 and 71 percent of the severity of the disease, while environmental factors explained between 19 and 37 percent.”

Experts Warn Deep Tan Will Give Way To Permanent Skin Damage

HealthDay  (7/8, Thompson) reported that physicians stress that a deep tan from a tanning salon “will eventually give way to permanent skin damage caused by the ultraviolet rays emitted by a tanning bed — damage up to and including potentially deadly skin cancer.” And, even though “most people spend more time in the sun during the summer months, exposure to ultraviolet light has become increasingly a year-round danger,” particularly for people who use tanning beds. Dermatologist James Spencer, MD explained, “The bottom line is excessive UV exposure increases your risk of skin cancer, whether you are indoors or outdoors.”

Giant Hogweed May Cause Burns, Blindness

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/7) reported, “Experts are urging residents of several states to beware of the ‘giant hogweed,’ a tall plant native to Central Asia with umbrella-size flowers containing toxic sap that can cause burns, blisters and, in some cases, even blindness.” The plant, whose botanical name is Heracleum Mantegazzianum, “is already a concern in the Northeast and spreading fast.” The plant’s “sap contains a photosensitizing chemical that accelerates sun damage and can result in a serious sunburn,” a reaction that can be made worse by perspiration.

Massage Therapy May Relieve Chronic Back Pain

Massage therapy may effectively reduce or relieve chronic back pain for 6 months or more, according to the results of a parallel-group, randomized controlled trial reported in the July 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“Recent reviews have found limited evidence that massage is an effective treatment for chronic back pain, and no studies have compared relaxation massage with structural massage, which focuses on correcting soft-tissue abnormalities,” write Daniel C. Cherkin, PhD, from the Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, Washington, and colleagues. “We therefore conducted a trial to determine whether relaxation massage reduces pain and improves function in patients with chronic low back pain and compared relaxation and structural massage for treating this condition.”

Computer-generated randomization and centralized allocation concealment were used, with blinding of participants to massage type, but not to assignment to massage vs usual care. Although the massage therapists could not be blinded, the study personnel who evaluated outcomes were blinded to treatment allocation.

At an integrated healthcare delivery system in Seattle, 401 participants were randomly assigned to receive structural massage (n = 132), relaxation massage (n = 136), or usual care (n = 133). Participants had nonspecific chronic low back pain and were aged 20 to 65 years. The main study endpoint was Roland Disability Questionnaire (RDQ) and symptom bothersomeness scores at 10 weeks, and secondary endpoints were these scores at 26 and 52 weeks. Clinically meaningful differences were defined as mean group differences of 2 or more points on the RDQ and 1.5 or more points on the symptom bothersomeness scale.

At 10 weeks, functional outcomes were similar in both massage groups. Compared with the usual care group, the relaxation group had an adjusted mean RDQ score that was 2.9 points lower (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.8 – 4.0 points), and the structural massage group had an adjusted mean RDQ score that was 2.5 points lower (95% CI, 1.4 – 3.5 points). Adjusted mean symptom bothersomeness scores were 1.7 points lower with relaxation massage (95% CI, 1.2 – 2.2 points ) and 1.4 points lower with structural massage (95% CI, 0.8 – 1.9 points).

At 52 weeks, there were persistent but small benefits of relaxation massage for function, but not for symptom reduction.

“We found that patients receiving massage were twice as likely as those receiving usual care to report significant improvements in both their pain and function,” Dr. Cherkin said in a news release. “After 10 weeks, about two-thirds of those receiving massage improved substantially, versus only about one-third in the usual care group.”

A study limitation was the lack of blinding of massage therapists and the only partial blinding of participants to treatment assignment. In addition, the exercises recommended in the 2 massage groups differed slightly, and the massage therapists were atypical, in that they had practiced for at least 5 years and had learned structural massage techniques. Generalizability of the findings is limited because the trial included mostly women with nonspecific chronic low back pain who were enrolled in a single healthcare system that serves a mostly white and employed population.

“Massage therapy may be effective for treatment of chronic back pain, with benefits lasting at least 6 months,” the study authors conclude. “No clinically meaningful difference between relaxation and structural massage was observed in terms of relieving disability or symptoms.”

~Laurie Barclay, MD

Study: Medicaid Recipients Better Off Than Uninsured

The New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/7, A14, Kolata, Subscription Publication) reports, “When poor people are given medical insurance, they not only find regular doctors and see doctors more often, but they also feel better, are less depressed and are better able to maintain financial stability, according to a new, large-scale study that provides the first rigorously controlled assessment of the impact of Medicaid.” Even though these “findings may seem obvious, health economists and policy makers have long questioned whether it would make any difference to provide health insurance to poor people.” In fact, this “has become part of the debate on Medicaid, at a time when states are cutting back on this insurance program for the poor.” Richard M. Suzman, of the National Institute on Aging, which funded the study, “said it was ‘one of the most important studies that our division has funded since I’ve been at the NIA.'”

The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/7, Alonso-Zaldivar) reports, “The study looked at 10,000 Oregonians who won a state-sponsored lottery for Medicaid in 2008, and compared them to those who applied but weren’t picked and remained uninsured.” Researchers “found that people with Medicaid were 70 percent more likely to have a regular medical office or clinic for their basic care, and 55 percent more likely to have a personal doctor. Medicaid enrollees were also more likely to get preventive care, such as mammograms and cholesterol screening.” Notably, they found “no real difference between the two groups in emergency room use,” although “people with Medicaid were significantly more likely to use inpatient and outpatient services, as well as prescription drugs.”

Ezra Klein writes in a Bloomberg News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/7) column that the study’s findings underscore “a point that is frequently obscured in a debate that’s often concerned more with cost curves than with treating heart disease. Part of health-care reform is about making care cheaper. But the more important part is about making Americans healthier.”

The Oregonian Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/7, Rojas-Burke) reports that these results “are bound to play a role in the political controversy over federal health reform, which calls for expanding Medicaid coverage to 16 million uninsured Americans in 2014.” Notably, the extent to which “Medicaid coverage improves health has remained an open question, in part because of the difficulty of performing controlled experiments. Researchers consider it unethical, for example, to force subjects to go without health insurance just to test the result.” The decision by Oregon officials “to use a random lottery presented a happenstance opportunity.”

Sitting For Long Time May Double Women’s Risk Of Pulmonary Embolism

The CNN Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/5, Hudson) “The Chart” blog reported, “Extensive sitting increases women’s risk of pulmonary embolism, finds a new study in the current issue of the British Medical Journal.”

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/5, Preidt) reported, “The researchers said their study is the first to prove that an inactive lifestyle increases the risk of developing a pulmonary embolism, which occurs when part or all of a blood clot that forms in the deep veins of the legs travels through the bloodstream to the lungs.” The “study included 69,950 female nurses who were followed for 18 years and every two years provided details about their lifestyle habits.”

Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/5, Barclay) reported, “There were 268 episodes of incident idiopathic pulmonary embolism during the 18-year study period. Time spent sitting each day was directly associated with risk for idiopathic pulmonary embolism (in combined data, 41/104,720 for the most inactive women compared with 16/14,565 for the least inactive women; P < .001 for trend).” The researchers found that “compared with women who spent the least time sitting, women who spent the most time sitting had more than double the risk for pulmonary embolism (multivariable hazard ratio, 2.34; 95% confidence interval, 1.30 – 4.20). Physical activity was not associated with pulmonary embolism (P = .53 for trend).” WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/5, Goodman) also covered the story.

Eye on Health: Colored Contact Danger

The desire to look like celebrities might be fueling the craze for colored contact lenses. For Erica Barnes, her decision to change her look nearly cost her vision.

“I couldn’t open my eyes and every time I tried it started hurting more,” says Barnes.

The 14 year old had only worn them for a day but that was enough to damage her cornea. Her doctor says even after her infection is cured, she will have a scar, and will likely need a corneal transplant.

Federal law says any contacts, even those for cosmetic purposes, can only be purchased with a valid prescription, but Erica says she picked hers up at beauty store for twenty bucks.

Doctors say they’ve had other teenage patients with the same issue as Erica.

“The population that is targeted here is a very vulnerable population of young teenage girls who will do a lot for cosmetic purposes, and it’s absolutely illegal,” says Dr. Anne Steiner.

“Anything to make 20 dollars! My child’s sight is worth more than 20 dollars,” says Barnes’ mother, Trina Swain.

Barnes’ parents have had to stop working to be at Barnes’ bedside. They want to share her story to protect other teenagers from the same fate.

“Keep in mind it doesn’t come with cleaning instructions, no solutions, you just buy it like you’re buying toothpaste, that’s just ridiculous,” says Swain.

Sunglasses Necessary To Prevent Eyes From UV Damage

The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/4, Butler) reported that wearing sunglasses is necessary to protect the eyes from damage from ultraviolet (UV) rays. Optometrist Michael Rosenblatt, OD, pointed out that “certain people run an elevated risk for UV damage,” particularly people “with light-colored irises.” He explained, “If you easily burn in the sun, you should think of yourself as a person who suffers greater damage from UV light in all areas, including your eyes.” For that reason, he recommended sunglasses that “extend from the eyebrow to the cheek and wrap around the contour of face, along with lenses that have 100 percent UVA and UVB protection.”

Herbs That Promote Eye Health

For at least 2000 years, various herbs have been utilized throughout the world to promote eye health–consumed regularly to prevent failing eyesight, and prepared as topical infusions to treat everything from common eye strain to glaucoma.

While there is little modern evidence to support many of the documented and anecdotal claims concerning some of these traditional herbal remedies, others have gained considerable supported from the medical community in recent years, scientifically recognized as containing healthful substances that can indeed prevent or treat eye ailments, and support overall eye health.

Here are ten currently enjoying wide-spread popularity among the ever-growing natural curative community as promoting eye health, as well as the subjects of ongoing scientific research.

> Asphalatus (asphalatus linearis):

Although little is currently known in the western world about this medicinal plant, asphalatus is said to have been used for thousands of years by the San Bushmen of South Africa to boost the immune system and maintain their exceptional eye sight. Known asrooibos to the people of the Cedarburg Mountains, asphalatus has been shown to contain especially high concentrations of iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, and antioxidants essential to eye health and keen vision.

> Basil:

While most people may not think of basil as an herb to be brewed and consumed as a tea, science has shown that it’s actually one of the best ways for the body to absorb the numerous eye-supporting vitamins and minerals this plant possesses. An excellent source of vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and iron, basil also contains high concentrations of carotenoids such as beta carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A–a scientifically-proven nutrient for maintaining strong eyesight.

> Bilberry:

Widely used in past centuries to promote general eye health, the active ingredients in bilberry, called anthocyanosides, are antioxidants that help improve the flow of blood through the capillaries of the eyes. When eaten regularly, these smaller cousins of the blueberry help eyes adjust more quickly to changes in light and improve sharpness of vision. Bilberries have also been shown to be effective in stopping the progression of cataracts when combined with sources of vitamin E, as well as in helping treat damage to the retina. (There are also numerous claims that bilberries improve night vision.)

> Cayenne:

A teaspoon of cayenne powder provides more than 8X the daily recommended dose of vitamin A, one of the vitamins responsible for protecting the surface of the eye (cornea)–and essential for good vision. Taken in combination with other antioxidant vitamins, cayenne may also be beneficial in decreasing the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Additionally, taken with a primary source of lutein (such as spinach), cayenne may prolong vision in people suffering from retinitis pigmentosa (RP).

> Cornflower:

Grown primarily today as an ornamental garden plant, cornflower was for several centuries used in the UK and US to treat conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the eye caused by bacteria, viruses, allergy, or other invasive environmental factors. Simple to prepare, a handful of cornflower blossoms placed in a cup of boiling water (after the boiling has ceased), then steeped thirty minutes, can be used liberally as an eye wash. Many herbals attest to its effectiveness in treating the highly contagious condition “pink eye.”

> Eyebright (euphrasia):

From the Greek euphrasia, meaning “to gladden,” eyebright has been used since ancient times to treat various eye ailments, especially eye strain and mild infections. The flowering stems contain flavonoids, the glycoside aucubin, tannins, and essential oils which when prepared as an infusion can be applied as an eyebath or in compresses to treat inflammation of the outer and inner surfaces of eyelids, sties, and soothe tired/over-worked eyes.

> Ginkgo biloba:

The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that a study of people suffering from glaucoma found that taking ginkgo biloba orally every day for eight weeks produced marked signs of improved vision. Other studies indicate that this popular herb, best known for promoting general circulation, might also benefit those who have eye damage from diabetes or macular degeneration.

> Grape seed:

One of the primary curatives of antiquity, the ancient Greeks advocated grape seed extract to prevent or slow down the growth of cataracts. Now understood to contain high levels of antioxidant properties called oligomeric proanthocyanidin, studies conducted at the University of Maryland Medical Center confirm that while grape seed may not reverse cataracts you already have, it may prevent them or slow down the process. Other studies suggest that grape seed is good for peripheral circulation and strengthening of the capillaries.

> Spinach:

Spinach is especially high in lutein, a carotenoid found in the macular region (a small spot in the middle portion of the retina responsible for central vision) of the eye, retina, and lens which protects the macula tissue by absorbing damaging UV radiation. Lutein, however, cannot be manufactured by the body and must be taken in orally. Eating at least two ounces (58 grams) of fresh cooked spinach each day can help nourish the eye while fending off age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of irreversible blindness in individuals over the age of 65 in the US and other industrialized countries.

> Turmeric/curcumin:

A study of 32 people with uveitis (inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye which contains many eye-nourishing blood vessels) suggests that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, may prove to be as effective as corticosteroids, the type of medication generally prescribed for this eye disorder. While more studies are needed to conclude decisively, researchers say turmeric may be effective in treating this disorder as well other eye inflammation.


One in three adults unaware sun exposure causes eye health risks

Wearing a hat and protecting eyes from harmful UV rays is as much a part of sun protection as slathering on sunscreen.

USA Today reports that a “2009 survey by the American Optometric Association found that one in three adults are unaware of the eye health risks of spending too much time in the sun without proper protection.”

report by Prevent Blindness America, a leading eye health and safety organization, says the cumulative exposure to UV light over time can contribute to “significant and lasting damage to the eye and vision,” including:

  • Cataracts, a clouding of the eye’s lens that can blur vision. It afflicts one in every six Americans over 40 and more than half over 80, about 20 million people. An estimated 20% of cases are caused by extended UV exposure.
  • Macular degeneration, resulting from damage to the retina that destroys sharp, central vision. It is the leading cause of blindness in the USA.
  • Pterygium, a tissue growth over the white part of the surface of the eye that can alter the curve of the eyeball, causing astigmatism. If the pterygium starts to grow over the cornea, it can blur or obstruct vision and may need to be removed.

And, “even a few hours of intense, unprotected exposure can have consequences, says optometrist Sarah Hinkley of the American Optometric Association,” possibly leading to painful photokeratitis – or sunburn of the eye.

Wearing sunglasses or other eyewear that offer UV protection is the best way to shield the eyes from the sun. Consumers should consider the following tips in thereport by Prevent Blindness America when choosing a pair of shades:

  • Buy from a reputable retailer: Their products will meet frame and lens quality criteria set by the American National Standards Institute.
  • Look for UV protection: Sunglasses should filter UVA and UVB light.
  • Try the sunglasses on: Fit and feel make a difference because sunglasses that are uncomfortable are less likely to be worn.
  • Use multiple pairs: Different lenses and frames may be suited to various types of activities.
  • Understand lens color: The darkness of a lens has nothing to do with UV protection, although various lens colors can offer other benefits. For instance, yellow- and brown-tinted lenses are best when used for water sports; gray, brown and amber are great for field sports; and mirror coatings work well for downhill skiing and snowboarding.
  • Focus on design: For extra protection, wraparound glasses or glasses with larger temple pieces help block the sun from side angles.


Myopia Associated With Open-Angle Glaucoma

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/30, McCook) reports that, according to a review Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online June 20 in the journal Ophthalmology, people with myopia are have a 90% increased risk for developing open-angle glaucoma, with those have severe myopia have an even greater risk. For that reason, experts suggest that people with severe nearsightedness undergo frequent eye exams. Eye experts already suggest that adults over 40 be screened for glaucoma regularly, with blacks being screened earlier and more often due to their higher risk for the sight-robbing condition. The US Preventive Services Task Force, however, points out that there is insufficient evidence to recommend such screening.

Taking Care of Your Eye Health is Important

Taking care of your eyes is perhaps one of the most important things that you can do for your health. However, sometimes no matter what steps you take to ensure you stay healthy, you can still get sick. Glaucoma is a disease of the eyes, yet it is actually the name for a group of diseases that affect the optic nerves. it is caused by a few different things but the end result is the same.

Anyone who is serious about eye health issues and about keeping their eyes healthy will make sure that they get regular eye exams. as we get older, parts of our body breakdown and the eyes are especially vulnerable. a glaucoma test is done once a year and is basically a puff of air blown into each eye. while this is not the most comfortable test, it is a very important test because it works slowly and can sometimes do a lot of damage before it is detected.

If detected early, then there is a better chance of successful treatment. once the damage has occurred, it is irreversible and that is why it is important to take your doctor visits seriously. This is also why it is important to have regular screenings for this disease and it usually starts with the peripheral vision. without regular screenings for glaucoma it is possible for a large part of the nerves to be destroyed before anyone realizes what has happened.

Glaucoma can destroy through increased pressure inside the eye or by causing poor blood supply to the optic nerve fibers. there are a few ways that glaucoma can attack and destroy and each person is different and will have different experiences. Glaucoma usually happens as a person ages; however, it can happen at any time or at any age.

There does seem to be some correlation with glaucoma and family health history. therefore, if anyone in your family has ever had glaucoma, then it is extremely important that you have your eyes checked regularly. once glaucoma takes hold, the damage is done and it is irreversible. your eyes will never recover. The best the doctors would be able to do is to salvage as much of your vision as is left after the ravages of this disease.

Regular eye examinations are especially important to have as we age. Aging causes the body to break down; an unfortunate fact of life. Eyesight is one of the highest rated of the five senses and you want to make sure that yours stays as functional as possible, for as long as possible. Make sure you take the health of your eyes seriously. see your doctor if you have any concerns, as this is the central key to making sure that your optical system stays in top shape.