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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!

Thu



Valsartan Recall: An Ongoing Saga
written by Lakshmi S. Sastry, M.D.
on Monday, 17th December, 2018

We got a frenzy of portal messages from our patients in the last few weeks wondering why the evening news on television announced a recall of high blood pressure meds they take. They thought changing Valsartan (a commonly used blood pressure medication that is part of the ARB family) to other blood pressure medications should have done the trick. They were already familiar with ...

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Why Is Weight Loss So Difficult - A Scientific Explanation
written by Marsha Seidelman, M.D.
on Wednesday, 31st October, 2018

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of going to a Smithsonian sponsored talk by Dr. Hall, who is a Senior Investigator at NIH and chief of one of the research programs at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases that reaches across different branches of the institute. It was the first talk in a series called “Pulse on Modern Medicine”. ...

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Just Keep Truckin'
written by Marsha Seidelman, M.D.
on Tuesday, 23rd October, 2018

You may have heard recently that lack of exercise is a greater risk factor for death than high blood pressure, high cholesterol or smoking. I was curious to see whether this was a sensational headline or if there was good data to back up the claim. The article referred to in the popular press was posted on the open network of the Journal of the American Medical Association (jamanetwork.com), ...

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Big News From the FDA Today Regarding e-cigarettes
written by Marsha Seidelman, M.D.
on Wednesday, 12th September, 2018

Well, we’re finally seeing some action on e-cigarette use in youth! It’s a few years too late, but hopefully we can catch up. E-cigarettes are a form of ENDS, or electronic nicotine delivery systems. We reviewed some pros and cons of the first generation of these devices in October, 2014. “We've worked so hard for decades to limit teen use of cigarettes. Why ...

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Have you noticed there are so many numbers on your menus?
written by Marsha Seidelman, M.D.
on Sunday, 5th August, 2018

Over the past few years, and more commonly in the last few months, you may have noticed calorie counts on menus. Federal requirements for this information have been in the works for years, with some cities and states leading the way. New York City was at the forefront with implementation in 2008. Since these rules mainly affected chains of restaurants, having different requirements ...

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Low Dose Aspirin as Preterm Birth Prevention; Low Levels Alcohol Consumption & Brain Health; Grilled Meat & Elevated Blood Pressure
written by Thu Tran, MD,FACOG
on Saturday, 23rd June, 2018

Low Dose Aspirin May Lower Rate of Preterm Birth (PTB) A recent study, released on June 15, 2018, by researchers from the Department of Maternal Fetal Medicine of Columbia University Medical Center in New York, NY, showed how baby aspirin use significantly lowers the rate of preterm birth in patients less than 34 weeks pregnant. In this study, consisting of 2543 women ...

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Basic Strategies for Stress Management
written by Thu Tran, MD,FACOG
on Wednesday, 23rd May, 2018

Everyone deals with stress in his or her own way. Some of us seem to have as busy and as stressful a life as others, yet we seem to have little or no anxiety or depression, whereas others in similar situations suffer significantly. Some of us, when feeling stressed, develop “bad” habits, like drinking alcohol or using other drugs, or engaging in binge eating. Others ...

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Safeguard Yourself from Ticks and Mosquitoes
written by Linda Yau, M.D., F.A.C.P.
on Tuesday, 15th May, 2018

With warmer weather and longer days, we spend more time outside. This brings plenty of opportunities to improve our health with exercise and events in the great outdoors. The great outdoors also exposes us to more insects such as ticks and mosquitoes that can threaten our health. We need to be preparing for protection. This article was inspired by the very well written article ...

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Acrylamide in Coffee? I Am Not Giving Up My Daily Two Cups of Coffee
written by Thu Tran, MD,FACOG
on Sunday, 8th April, 2018

Every Sunday morning, a group of Lady Docs friends and I take our run or walk on the C&O canal by the Potomac River, a five mile run or four mile speed walk. We then regroup at the starting point and drive to Black Lion Cafe, a charming Ethiopian coffee house in Rockville, to spend an hour chatting about our week or our concerns about the world. I have participated in this ...

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Dr. Rachel Schreiber welcomes spring by talking to Kojo Nnamdi on NPR
written by Marsha Seidelman, M.D.
on Thursday, 29th March, 2018

Our own Dr. Rachel Schreiber, former President of the Greater Washington Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Society, was interviewed at length on the Kojo Nnamdi show on NPR. I was so proud of her - so calm, so knowledgeable! She answered Kojo's questions and those from many callers. They covered everything from the most common allergens, to why the Washington DC metro area ...

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Latest entries
Valsartan Recall: An Ongoing Saga
A Thanksgiving Message from an Interfaith Service at Saint Francis Episcopal Church in Potomac
Three Letters From Sarajevo
Why Is Weight Loss So Difficult - A Scientific Explanation
Just Keep Truckin'
Nevertheless, We Persist...
Big News From the FDA Today Regarding e-cigarettes

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