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Mothers with low Vitamin D had children with higher body fat

Research has demonstrated children born from mothers with low Vitamin D  intake had more body fat at 6 years old than those born from mothers with adequate intake.

Source: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 

It’s interesting to note that there is already a link between low Vitamin D levels and obesity, both in adults and in children.


Eating fat grows the brain to want more fat

This study from Nature Neuroscience uses mice to study the effects of fat consumption on the brain.  Mice who ate a high fat diet grew new four times as many cells in the hypothalamus, an area of the brain which regulates appetite.  This suggests some kind of cycle where eating more fat makes you want to eat more fat.

Source: Nature Neuroscience  Photo: public domain

Stretching your upper body following open heart surgery

Stretching your upper body following open heart surgery.

Calcium supplements can increase risk of heart attack

Calcium supplements have been shown to double the risk of hear attacks.  A recent study of 23,980 men and women found that people who used calcium supplements regularly were 86 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack than those who did not. Those who obtained their calcium just from supplements were 2.7 times more likely than non-users to experience a heart attack.

Source: British Medical Journal  Photo: public domain

Back pain improves quickly but usually recurs

There are no quick fixes to back pain, although there isn’t a shortage of patients who wish there were.  A meta-analysis of current back pain literature was done by the Canadian Medical Association Journal.  They found that low back pain was resolved quickly for those who seek care, but frequently those patients would have recurring back pain in the future.

Source: Canadian Medical Association Journal Photo: CC BY 3.0

This meta-analysis is very accurate, although I would have liked to see which patients were treated with which treatment.  Patients in my office only having manipulative treatment tend to get better very quickly, but continue to have long term back pain.  In contrast adding a core stabilization and back endurance exercise program we’ve been able to keep the majority of back pain patients pain free long term.  The issue, which we delve into in our low back section on this site, seems to be the lack of supportive structures around ligaments and joints which go through micro-failure due to work or lifestyle choices.

Commonly I will speak to patients who have a provider advise them to “do nothing” but continue their normal routine.  While this is good advice when compared to the advice doctors gave to patients years ago; which was pretty much to stay in bed, it is not good advice in relation to the patient who needs functional endurance to support these regions of micro trauma.

High fructose diet linked to decreased memory and learning

A study in the Journal of Physiology found that a diet of high fructose affected learning and memory.  Fructose is a cheap sweetening additive added to a huge amount of consumer food.  The average American eats 40 pounds of it per year.  The study did find that Omega 3 supplements helped mitigate the effect from fructose.

Source: Medical Xpress  Photo:CC BY 3.0

The only issue I had with the study was the lack of a control.  The study used mice traversing a maze, setting a baseline then having one fructose supplemented group versus a fructose and Omega 3 supplemented group re-perform the maze.  The fructose/Omega 3 group performed remarkably better than the fructose only group, which could suggest many things.  It’s a good study to generate food for thought but I would have preferred to see a control group, for example a non fructose non Omega 3 group versus a Omega 3 group only.  Still the evidence against high fructose diets is growing by the day.

Mind distraction effective against pain

A study published in Current Biology found that distracting the mind was an effective tool against pain.  Subjects performed cognitive intensive activities while undergoing pain.  Those who performed the more intensive cognitive activities reported a lesser degree of pain.  Researchers actually observed the spinal cord with fMRI and noted that in those with the most intense cognitive exercises the pain signals were blocked.  It was theorized that there may be a possible chemical message sent from the brain to block the pain signals.

Source: Scientific American  Photo: CC BY 2.5

Interesting study which I would suggest may parallel some of the studies on meditation.  When dealing with acute cases or counseling patients on how to handle future acute episodes we routinely teach them breathing and distraction exercise.  This has helped them cope with their episodes very well, especially if they did not have access to care.

Longer life expectancy found with coffee drinking

Here’s some good news for all of us drinking our coffee before we go into work.  A recent study by the New England Journal of Medicine found that drinking coffee reduced the risk of death.  They found that men drinking 6 cups a day, or women drinking 6 cups a day were respectively 10% and 15% less likely to die in 14 years that the study ran.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to get back to my cup of coffee.

Source: New England Journal of Medicine  Photo:  CC BY 2.0

Study debates if “good” cholesterol is really good for us.

A recent study in The Lancet questions whether the existing belief that high HDL cholesterol levels are really beneficial.  Traditionally higher levels of HDL have been believed to be associated with lower levels of heart disease and a lower incidence of heart attacks.  The study found no correlation with higher levels of HDL and a reduction of the incidence of heart attacks.

The inverse, that lower HDL levels predicted heart disease, was not studied and for the time being should still be accepted as a strong indicator.

Source: The Lancet  Photo: CC BY 3.0

Genetic changes with exercise

Fascinating article about how you can change your gene expression, although this article specifically looked at exercise and gene expression.  Actions such as exercise can methylate a gene, changing it’s expression, what’s interesting is that this genetic change is more permanent than your run of the mill changes which exercises causes.

In the study they measured the methylation of genes in a low intensity exercise group and a high intensity exercise group.  What they found was that only the high intensity group demonstrated methylation.

What’s even more interesting is that it is possible that these genetic changes may be passed on to offspring.  Interesting stuff.

Source: Scientific American  Photo: Public Domain