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Health pearls

We live in an era of maybe “too much" medical information. As most of us know, medical information and opinions can drastically change over time. For example, when I was a resident in OBGYN more than 20 years ago, it was common for a menopausal woman to be placed on “Estrogen Replacement Therapy" for multiple reasons such as osteoporosis prevention, hot flashes, and heart protection. We were told how estrogen treatment in the menopause years can even raise HDL or the “good" cholesterol. After the WHO study was released in 2002, however, we learned how estrogen therapy can raise the risk of breast cancer! Gone also is the heart protection theory from years ago.

For decades, we also had told our female patients how important it was to take calcium supplements to protect their bones. Now, however, we tell them to wait until after menopause to consider this supplement, as the scientific community now warns us of the elevated incidence of kidney stones. One clinical study even reported how too much calcium supplementation can be hazardous to cardiac health, only to be struck down about two weeks ago by another scientist whose observations of the literature led him to conclude that this “cardiac hazard" was not true!

In Health Pearls, we will try to summarize some recent scientific studies for you in the hope that the information will help you lead a more healthy life. However, we hope we won’t have to oscillate back and forth, telling you one week to stop doing what we were advising the prior week! We do not claim to be experts in all medical fields but rest assured that we do practice what we preach.

Recently, I was amused when I watched a video clip from a famous physician, now in the league of Hollywood celebrities, making recommendation on a “weight loss pill" made out of Mangosteen, one of my favorite childhood tropical fruits.

“One pill a day and you will lose FOUR pounds a month!"

Four pounds a month? That sounds pretty easy, no more harassment from Michelle Obama for those “Not moving” people? No more injuries at the gym trying to run faster to burn more calories? Just imagine, many Americans would love to sit in front of their TV taking Mangosteen pills watching the Food Network! Who would have thought we could solve the obesity problem in America by taking Mangosteen pills?

I can reassure you that I know many obese Asians who eat Mangosteen. Maybe they did not eat enough mangosteen? How many mangosteens does it take to make a pill, I wonder?

We hope all the pearls we will be gathering will help you on your journey to good health and happiness!


Health News: Coffee Consumption and Longevity; High Dose Vitamin D Decreases Sunburn Effects; Antidepressants' Effects in Pregnancy;Antibiotics and Birth Defects...
written by Thu Tran, MD,FACOG
on Friday, 21st July, 2017

Coffee Consumption Could Improve Lifespan Two large studies, recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found a link between lower mortality risk and coffee consumption. The study from University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles, reviewed data on185,855 of middle aged to older Americans over a decade. The researchers found ...

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Updates on Hormone Therapy in Menopause
written by Marilyn Jerome, M.D., FACOG
on Wednesday, 14th June, 2017

As a practicing ob-gyn for the last 35 years, I have certainly seen the “hormone wars.” As is true in so many subjects in medicine, studies are presented that demonstrate a significant benefit of a drug or supplement, only to be challenged months or years later with the opposite findings, leading to confusion and angst, and concerns about the harm that this intervention ...

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Health News: Hepatitis C Rates in Pregnancy; Wine and Breast Cancer; Foods and Depression; Breast Cancer Rates in Asian American Women...
written by Thu Tran, MD,FACOG
on Friday, 26th May, 2017

Hepatitis C (HCV) On the Rise in Pregnant Women US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report showed a doubling between 2009 to 2014 of hepatitis C (HCV) infections in pregnant women. Increased incidences were found especially in W. Virginia and Tennessee where there’s a high risk for opioid addiction. The HCV rate nationwide ...

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Zero to 50,000 - The 20th Anniversary of the Hospitalist
written by Marsha Seidelman, M.D.
on Thursday, 6th April, 2017

Patients often ask which hospital they should go to in an emergency. I tell them they can go to whichever one they prefer, since my group no longer rounds at the hospital. Our patients are taken care of by the hospital-based doctors. Let’s discuss why this came about and how you can advocate for yourself if you require admission. The field of ‘hospitalists’ ...

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Health News: Pregnancy Risks in Cancer Survivors; Lymphoma in Breast Implants; BRCA Testing Rate; Depression on the Rise; Gum Disease and Shortened Lifespan; Marathon Runners and Kidney Disease...
written by Thu Tran, MD,FACOG
on Saturday, 1st April, 2017

Cancer Survivors and Pregnancy Risks A study from the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina shows potential risks of preterm labor, low birth weight infants, and higher cesarean section rate in women with history of cancer. The study gathered data from 15,000 births of women ranging from 15-39 years old. The study was published online in JAMA Oncology. ...

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Talking to Your Spouse About Couples Therapy
written by Emily Cook, PhD, LCMFT
on Sunday, 19th March, 2017

Lots of people – mostly women – give my Bethesda psychotherapy practice a call to begin couples therapy. Most of the time, both spouses are committed to seeking help and we’re able to get started right away. Unfortunately, sometimes one partner is desperately wanting couples therapy but needs guidance about how to ask their spouse to join. It’s a tricky ...

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March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
written by Julia Korenman, M.D.
on Saturday, 11th March, 2017

Colorectal cancer will strike one of 20 people in the US over their lifetime, including both men and women. Colon cancer is curable by surgery if it is diagnosed early. Therefore, screening is recommended at age 50 for most people, age 45 for African Americans, and earlier for some people at high risk such as those with a strong family history of colon cancer. There are several ...

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Helping Teens Understand Unhealthy Dating Relationships
written by Sheila Overton, M.D.
on Monday, 27th February, 2017

Most adults would agree that the teen years can be a vulnerable period. Teens juggle the mastery of many tasks during this phase. One of the most important is developing the tools needed to form healthy partner relationships. Unfortunately, for many teens, an introduction to unhealthy relationships occurs during this time. According to the CDC, 1 in 4 teens say they’ve ...

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Red Dresses Represent More than Valentine's Day
written by Linda Yau, M.D., F.A.C.P.
on Saturday, 25th February, 2017

February has traditionally been designated Red Dress month to raise awareness of the issue of heart disease in women. Now there is a special day and a website as well. The stereotypical heart patient is an older man who may have high cholesterol and high blood pressure. However the leading cause of death in women in the United States continues to be heart disease. Women ...

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Fit or Thin: Which is more important??
written by Marsha Seidelman, M.D.
on Thursday, 2nd February, 2017

In the media and in medical literature, there are debates about which is more important for a long healthy life, being fit or being thin. There isn’t a simple answer, so I’d like to thank my colleagues for debating these points with me recently. For sure, FITNESS is VERY important. Fitness - being able to perform well on a treadmill test - proves that all systems ...

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