Weekly Health Update
“A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.”
~ Italo Calvino
Mental Attitude: Bipolar Disorder Symptoms Worse Among Those Abused as Children.
New research suggests that individuals with bipolar disorder who have a history of childhood abuse or neglect may have an increased risk for more severe manic, depressive, and psychotic symptoms as well as a higher risk of suicide than bipolar disorder patients with a less traumatic upbringing. The study also found that those with bipolar disorder who were abused as children have a higher risk for anxiety disorders and substance and alcohol abuse disorders. Study author Dr. Jessica Agnew-Blais writes, “This information could be valuable for identifying patients with bipolar disorder who may benefit from greater support and treatment.”
The Lancet Psychiatry, February 2016
Health Alert: Common Air Pollution May Increase the Risk of Preterm Birth.
An analysis of 225,000 births reveals that exposure to high levels of small particle air pollution from car exhaust, burning wood, coal, and other fossil fuels during pregnancy can increase the risk of early birth by up to 19%. Study author Dr. Emily DeFranco explains, “Although the risk increase is modest, the potential impact is robust, as all pregnant women are potentially at risk… We estimate that decreasing the amount of particulate matter in the air below the [Environmental Protection Agency’s] standard threshold could decrease preterm birth in women exposed to high levels of small particulates by about 17 percent, which corresponds to a 2.22 percent decrease in the preterm birth rate in the population as a whole.”
Environmental Health, January 2016
Diet: Seafood, Mercury, and the Brain.
Though scientists have long warned against eating large quantities of fish known to contain high levels of mercury, a new study finds the brains of individuals with greater mercury exposure did not exhibit the kind of brain that is typically seen in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Study author Dr. Martha Clare Morris writes, “Everybody’s saying seafood has so many health benefits, but everybody’s afraid of the mercury… We saw absolutely no evidence that higher levels of mercury in the brain were associated with any of the neuropathologies associated with dementia.”
Journal of the American Medical Association, February 2016
Exercise: Exercise During Pregnancy Improves Health for Mom & Baby.
A large, randomized trial revealed that without exercise during pregnancy, women are three times more likely to develop hypertension, 1.5 times more likely to gain excessive weight, and 2.5 times more likely to give birth to a baby that is large for its gestational age. Study co-author Dr. Michelle Mottola recommends that pregnant women should aim for 10,000 steps per day during pregnancy.
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, December 2015
Chiropractic: Conservative Care vs. Surgery for Stenosis.
A recent research review investigated the effectiveness of different types of surgery compared with different types of non-surgical interventions in adults with symptomatic lumbar spinal stenosis—a condition that is often debilitating and associated with degeneration of the spine. The investigators found both surgical and non-surgical treatment approaches produced similar outcomes; however, the rate of side effects ranged from 10% to 24% in surgical cases, while the researchers found no reported side effects for any of the conservative treatments they reviewed in the study. They recommend further high-quality research to compare surgical versus conservative care in the management of lumbar spinal stenosis.
The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, January 2016
Wellness/Prevention: My Heel Hurts!
If you suffer from painful heels, the American Podiatric Medical Association offers these preventive tips: wear shoes with sturdy soles that absorb shock and offer support, choose shoes designed for your activity preference, warm-up and stretch before exercising, get plenty of rest, provide your body with good nutrition, and lose excess weight.
American Podiatric Medical Association, April 2016
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